Thursday, December 28, 2017

SiteLock Scam?

I have been a HostGator customer for many years - since 2005!  Before you start with "they are the worst...", I never had a major issue with them.  I've had multiple sites hosted with them on one very affordable account.  The minor issues I had were fixed quickly and for a couple years now I have not needed any "support required" requests.  For me, at least, they have been reliable and a decent hosting solution.

Until they partnered with SiteLock.  Apparently, I purchased this "service" from HostGator in 2013.  I'm going to look into this purchase later or maybe it was included with my HostGator account.  Just recently, I was contacted by SiteLock about malware on two of my domains.  Imagine the horror!  You don't know anything about websites, servers or even the internet and you receive a notice:

We are reaching out to you because one or more of the domains you own has malware on it and this issue needs to be resolved.  
As your website security provider you Do Not have the appropriate level of security to remedy/ remove and prevent these issues.

I've attempted to leave a message or left a message on the number in our records as well. Contact me immediately and directly. We are able to assist you

Now they are calling my cell phone.

The problem for them is, I have access to the files on my HostGator server and I know websites and the internet.  After some research, I found that SiteLock uses scare tactics to get unsuspecting subscribers to pay them (upwards of $100+) to fix their website for them.

Many of their Facebook followers post messages like "thank you so much for fixing my website", "You guys are the best!  They got my website reactivated after they cleaned it!"

Pay up, suckers!  Or, did they do it for free out of the goodness of their hearts?

I checked one of my domains that had this infestation of malware that was poised to end the world and destroy even HostGator.  Hostgator, a massive complex of buildings filled with enormous arrays of hardware and software and professionals working around the clock.

If I don't contact SiteLock and have them fix this immediately, the world and internet, as we know it, will cease to exist.  Or worse, SiteLock will tell HostGator to deactivate my account and shut me down because my account will harm HostGator's servers and the internet.

On this particular domain was ONE (1) html file that told visitors that the domain was for sale, contact me.  Simple html code, no hidden agenda or anything.

I'll save the $100.

Through more research, I found sites that offer FREE website checks.  With nothing to lose and before the end of the world, I entered my website domain on Sucuri.  According to Sucuri, my main domain was clean.  However, it did show the other domain, which contained only the html file, was blocked by Norton Safe Web.  The other 9 blocking sites considered the domain clean.  There was no malware detected.

In SiteLock's defense, it is not too uncommon for "internet security" providers to prey on unassuming victims.  They hope enough people will believe the hype and authority by using phrases like "you Do Not have the appropriate level of security" (but THEY do, of course), and "your account WILL be deactivated!".

This tactic reminds me of the crap I keep receiving in the mail (regular USPS mail).  On the outside "OPEN AT ONCE!  LEGAL NOTICE ENCLOSED!".  In a frantic frenzy, I open the envelope as carefully as possible so as not to damage the legal notice inside.  My eyes gaze at the large bold-type heading: "Car Sale In Your Area Soon!"  Another one boldly states on the outside "IMPORTANT! Your Car Warranty Has Expired! Open At ONCE!".  I open this one immediately and, in a cold sweat with a horrified look on my face, read "Purchase our extended warranty plan for $(amount) now!".  Sometimes I wish the USPS would accept s**t (defecation, "number 2") in an envelope since I would love to mail these companies what I "think" of their notices.

I feel sorry for these blood suckers who do this for low pay and hope the gullible, naive, recipient  falls for it so they can get a commission off of this scam.  I blame the companies.  I blame their "partner" companies, like HostGator.  SiteLock gains its followers through partner companies, and I'm sure other means.  We depend on the partners, like HostGator, to protect us, their customer, from harmful 3rd parties.  At the beginning, perhaps on paper, it would look like SiteLock can benefit their partners and their partner's clients/customers by providing a valuable service - site protection against hackers/malware.  But, when a 3rd party begins using tactics as described here and the partnership continues, it doesn't help the reputation or "pitch" of HostGator or other partners who involve SiteLock as a feature they offer.  Scamming your customer should not be considered a selling point.

After checking further in my Control Panel on HostGator, none of my websites have SiteLock enabled.  So this appears to be a good time to gain subscribers using the garbage I posted above.  For all I know, this company could have reported my one-file website, making it on the naughty banned list.  Banking on the shock and horror of the impending doom, I, the customer, would immediately hand over my credit card information, next of kin, life insurance policy and take out a loan in ANY amount...just to keep from being banned from the internet for life.

Instead, I think it would be easier to give up HostGator, which I have used since 2005.  Their relationship with SiteLock says a lot about them, unfortunately.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Hurricane Debris - Removed!

The neighborhood is finally looking like normal again thanks to the contractors who drove house-by-house to remove debris today.  A large truck with attached trailer, resembling a modified garbage truck and industrial size trailer attached, removed tree limbs and other debris.

The claws extended from the top of the truck like a small crane.  I'm not sure if the noise was from the crane itself or if they were compacting and/or mulching the brush to some degree.  But that doesn't matter.  It only lasted a few minutes.

We can now see the street again and a large patch of grass that has been growing, or dying underneath the brush pile.

The sad part is, the dead brush with its brown leaves, was our only visual reference that "fall" was here.  😀

DCF's "Food For Florida" is B.S.

Hurricane Irma is long gone but the effects still remain for many who were in her path.  Debris still line the streets and outline many front yards.  In some areas, giant logs from downed trees are still waiting for their final destination - mulch, firewood, the next tabletop... The roofs of some homes are still covered with blue tarps and screened-in porches are still damaged waiting for insurance claims.

The Department of Children and Families of the State of Florida (DCF) setup a "Food For Florida" program which was designed to help Florida residents who were affected by Hurricane Irma replace disaster-related  It is a special "disaster food stamp program" and to qualify, applicants may not already be receiving government assistance (food stamps).

The process is simple.  Go online to the DCF Food For Florida website and complete the application. Wait for approval. Go to a food site on the scheduled day and receive your share of  funds that the state set aside for emergencies and those affected by Hurricane Irma.

Seems simple enough, right?  The program has helped quite a few Floridians.  However, for the rest of "us", it is bullshit.  Apparently, if you make a certain amount of income or have money set aside in a bank, this hurricane did not affect you (us).  It magically flew over your location/dwelling/household, and struck ONLY low-income residents because those are the Floridians receiving this benefit.  The higher-income residents did not experience power outages and, hence, did not have to throw food away or stay in a motel 15-20 miles, or more, from home.  The higher-income residents did not have downed trees or damage to their property and they certainly did not miss any work.  This program only exists for those in the lower-income bracket because they were the only ones who saw hardship during this disaster.

I know this because I tried applying for this program.  I work full-time and have a bank account, which are probably the reasons I was disqualified.  But, I live in Polk County, which was named as part of the "disaster area"!  I also had to replace ALL of the food in the refrigerator due to being without electricity.  I missed work.  I found a very rare (they just re-opened) motel room to "live" in for a day before I was notified the electricity was restored in my neighborhood.  So, I had expenses.  I had "loss" and unexpected expenses due to this storm and I lived in the right county.  But DCF doesn't cater to people like me and this funding was not created for people with a sustainable income and/or money in the bank.  The affect on me and my household, financially, due to Hurricane Irma, is not applicable to DCF standards because I am employed...and it's bullshit!  Even more, the online application requests bank balances (checking & savings) and cash on hand.  Then it asks for expenses as a result of the disaster.  It doesn't account for rent, mortgage, electricity/utilities, car payments or other expenses that continued regardless of the storm.  The residents who work, put money back into the economy and pay taxes, are excluded.  I'm not rich.  The money in the bank is not exorbitant.  I do not live a lavish lifestyle.  I do not have funds set aside for disasters.

When a disaster strikes that affects all of us, we are denied the help that the state set aside for ALL residents in the affected area.  Don't be fooled by the "we're here to help Floridians during this..." crap.  It sounds good in the media and public relations bulletins, but it is a lie and the working Floridians are paying for it.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Facebook "Texas Sheriff's Deputies" hypocrites

A major hurricane is heading to Florida this weekend after devastating the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and islands further east.  This comes after another major hurricane, Harvey, flooded and destroyed the coastal Texas cities - Rockport, Houston, Beaumont and others.

Following the tragedy in Texas, a visiting University of Tampa professor posted on social media that Texans deserved Hurricane Harvey because of their support for President Donald Trump in the 2016 election.  Texas struck back on social media - Don't Mess With Texas!  The professor was fired.

Ken Storey does not speak on behalf of the state of Florida.  He does not represent us in any way shape or form.  Storey was also asked if his political statement also was true for Floridians who voted for Trump.  “Yep, those who voted for him here deserve it as well.”

Now, residents in Florida are facing that fate as well and it is starting in south Florida and heading north - Hurricane Irma.  At last report, Irma was wider than the state of Florida and was a strong Category 4 hurricane.  She was a very strong Category 5 while in the Atlantic, destroying those small islands.  The thing about hurricanes is, they don't know who voted for whom.  They destroy and cause havoc regardless of race, religion, political get the idea.

A few Texans now think this hurricane, with Florida as its target, is now "ok" because of Storey's statements.  And they are voicing their approval on social media, namely Facebook.  The shocker, to me at least, is the page is administered by law enforcement officers in Texas - the Texas Sheriff's Deputies!

The admins posted a MEME on their Facebook page

While the image itself is rather harmless, the admins responded with "Hahaha hahaha ha" and hashtags #karma #lifesabeach #besafe

So Texas was upset that Storey approved of their destruction, for voting for Trump, and touting "karma".  So upset that they approve the same "karma" for Florida with hurricane Irma.  Hypocrite much over there?  The comments that followed in response to this MEME were mixed.  Most were favorable supporting the "Texas Sheriff's Deputies" - and how could they not support their crass and vile position on this?  The MEME itself wasn't heartless and disgusting as much as the words by the admin(s) of the "Texas Sheriff's Deputies" themselves and their response to those of us, mostly me, who disapproved in their actions.

After a few posts, the admin's response was another MEME with "LIGHTEN UP FRANCIS" as well as "Leave the group if you don't like it".  This, of course, spawned more hatred towards myself and others who were equally put-off by the original post.  The admins obviously have very strong, high egos and they were not seeing the situation any other way - they could do no wrong - and their followers and worshipers agreed with them.

The admins continued with more childish memes provoking more hatred.

If (former) Professor Storey's posting was wrong and Texas was hurt by it, the admin's post invoked the same feelings towards others and the "Texas Sheriff's Deputies" didn't care.  Whenever you disagree with someone on social media, the only thing they can do to retaliate and attempt to prove superiority over you is call you a "snowflake" and "liberal".  These morons prefer to separate society by classes, color, religion, etc., until a disaster (natural, terrorism, etc) occurs - then it's "let's work together during this crisis so we can provoke hatred towards you afterwards".

...and finally, to show their absolute power over all, and that they were unable to see any wrong-doing of their own:

After they posted the pic above, I noticed I was banned from the page.  I'm surprised the admin hatemongers are actually in law enforcement.  My only guess for the ban is that they did realize they were off a bit, used callous judgement in their posts and were wrong, but were too egocentric to admit it to their worshipers.  Instead, they ban people from their page.  Of course, they are the administrators and can do as they please, but they were still wrong, insensitive and had no problem watching the hatred and provoking it themselves to protect their "we're better than you" image.

It's really a shame, too.  I enjoyed the page and (most of) the posts.  I'm from Texas originally.  I respect law enforcement.  But this group changed my opinion about the "Texas Sheriff's Deputies".  I see what they stand for now and what their mindset really is.  Are we going to laugh next time they are in danger?  Do we laugh when they get shot?  When they get arrested for being above the law?  No.  We are bigger than that.  Maybe the admins need to realize they are not the immortal Gods they think they are.  Step off of your high horse.  Try being human, if you can.