Pitfalls and Traps #7

Hostage Taking and Hijacking

Harr!  How does one's own site become a hostage or be hijacked? 

Pitfalls and Traps #7

Well, first we need to look at warning signs.  Some of the most important signs we have already discussed in previous posts.  Let us take a look back at what could come up as red flags, especially if combined with more than one:

  1. Security updates: You have no idea what software your site is running and your web designer / webmaster is not telling. No reason for this to be secret.
  2. Licensed & proprietary software: Your site is licensed for use or the technology is owned by someone else without your knowledge. Classic trap.
  3. Payment: You have paid in full and in cash (no contract).  They have your money, no agreements on paper, where is your leverage?
  4. Hosting:  Your site is hosted by a web designer / webmaster without it being part of a contract. No back-way out.  No idea what it could take to get out in one piece if need be.  They are in control and could demand expensive fees to keep you on their hosting.
  5. Contracts: No contracts at all, maybe a verbal agreement and handshake but that is it.  They have the power to deny and forget anything if they wanted to.
  6. Domains:  Your site's .com is registered under someone else and they refuse to hand it over.  This could be about the biggest red flag and indicator that you may be trapped.

It can take just one of these for your site to be taken hostage or hijacked,  but a hostage taker / hijacker typically will practice three or four of these if not more.  In many cases people are oblivious to being a victim  until it is too late.  The surprising part is the actual hostage taking can happen well before a website sees the light of day such as at the point your .com name is registered.  If you find yourself questioning your position on more than one, it might be best if you start digging around a little yourself.  If you couldn't tell from past posts, contracts are very important part when having a site produced and could save you a lot of grief in the long run.

Coming up in future posts, we will look at ways to possibly back-out of hostage / hijacked / trapped situations like these.