In the world of web hosting, virtual private server (VPS) hosting is more secure than basic shared hosting, but that doesn’t mean it’s impenetrable. Nearly any hosting solution can have vulnerabilities if upgrades, maintenance, and best practices don’t happen. Clizbeats.com was reminded of this lesson the hard way, and took to their blog on February 23 to explain what happened. “Well, we’re back now,” the company wrote, and were quick to point out that, yes, they know the site looks wildly different.
“Our VPS encountered a series of problems that made it impossible for the site to function normally. This series of issues caused us to have to try and address several possibilities at once, including evidence that we were under attack from different hackers,” they explained. Cybercriminals are out in full force this year, with overall attacks up 28 percent in Q4 of 2015 and DDoS attacks up 150 percent.
Clizbeats called the multi attacks a “tech support nightmare” with a domino effect of problems mounting. “Every time we thought the problem was solved, the server continued to crash consistently throughout the week,” reports the official blog site. Ultimately, an emergency file transfer to a new server was necessary to save the site. During this transfer, a software incompatibility issue was also discovered, which required the company to depend on an older (2009) site version temporarily.
It was the only option to regain site operation, but many visitors were confused by the “throwback” version which featured information and styles that were outdated. For a while, newer features that weren’t created until well after 2009 were turned off entirely. “We want to stress again that these changes are temporary,” says Clizbeats. However, a necessary evil to get the full site back up and running has called for some short-term solutions that might not be very pretty.
Digging into the Trenches
Simultaneously, the site is investigating the incident to ensure it won’t happen again. A “new and improved” version of the site has been promised to roll out soon. Still, “these server issues had a major effect on all aspects of the operations.” A number of music-centric articles and interviews were taken offline in order to fix the issues. Clizbeats is a small operation committed to covering “the world of music for all the right reasons.” The co-founders, Craig Clizbe and Matt Clizbe, also use the company to battle their Cerebral Palsy.
Such a website isn’t a popular industry for hackers to pinpoint, especially en masse, but serves as a reminder that no site is “safe” no matter what its size or content. If hackers spot a vulnerability, it’s often too tempting to pass up. Similar to burglars that stroll neighborhoods looking for weak spots, an empty house with an unlocked front door or open window is too sweet to resist. Upgrading software, hosts, and firewalls as well as changing passwords regularly are simple ways to avoid an attack.