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Exhibiting in the E17 Art Trail

exhibition invite

I am very pleased to announce that I will be taking part in the 10th anniversary of the E17 Art Trail. I will be exhibiting a number of new portraits upstairs in Riccos coffee shop (venue 63 in the Art trail guide) from Saturday 31st May for two weeks. I am hard at work finishing a number of pieces of work for the exhibition so I'll be posting them over the next two weeks as i get them finished. I am also planning on doing some painting at the venue over the two weekends so wish me luck as it could all go horribly wrong!

The venue is open from 8am -7pm seven days a week, if you would like to pay me a visit. The private view is on Friday 30th from 7pm.

http://www.e17arttrail.co.uk

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Aaaargh, Ive been hacked!

Aaaargh, I’ve been hacked!

A few days ago I opened my wordpress admin dashboard only to find a lovely animated picture instead.

Hack

I was surprised to say the least. At first I thought it was an internet error but I then went to my site and guess what! exactly the same thing appeared. I checked the facebook page in question and looked into making a complaint but it looks like Facebook only want to hear about complaints regarding stuff that appears on their site. I couldn't believe this miscreant would have the audacity to advertise themselves like this, they seemed pretty confident that they were untouchable! Since there didn't seem to be an option to complain, I thought I had better stop wasting my time and try to deal with the matter in hand.

I needed to know what to do next so I looked up some advice online and contacted my website host. It turns out that this is a common occurence with WordPress sites, due to their opensource nature and extreme popularity (apparently 17% of all websites are built on the platform). 5quidhost kindly secured access to my site and installed the last backup they had. I was worried that since it was two weeks old, that I would have lost some blog posts but as it turns out happily, that I had been a bit lax recently and everything was intact.

Not wanting this to happen again anytime soon, I did a bit of reading on how to keep it secure against future attack. My site had been compromised by an old plugin but I found a fantastic free security plugin called Wordfence which alerts me by email each time my site files change. I then found and blocked the IP address of the interloper (I found it on the stats page in CPanel) I also blocked a range of known dodgy IP addresses from Indonesia. I know its probably ever going to be 100% secure but now that I am aware of it I will be keeping a close eye on it from now on.

I think the biggest lesson I have learned from this is to make regular and complete backups of my site, especially after any updates. This means making a copy of the SQL database as well as the site files. Its a bit of a faff but at least I know that whatever happens I will always be able to get it back up and running.

Here are a few of the web pages I referred to after the catastrophe which are definitely worth a read if you use WordPress for your website:

http://codex.wordpress.org/FAQ_My_site_was_hacked
http://ocaoimh.ie/2008/06/08/did-your-wordpress-site-get-hacked/
http://smackdown.blogsblogsblogs.com/2008/06/24/how-to-completely-clean-your-hacked-wordpress-installation/
http://codex.wordpress.org/Hardening_WordPress

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