When Hackers Attack: A Survival Guide

Posted by on Oct 24, 2016 in Copywriting | 0 comments

When Hackers Attack:  A Survival Guide

How many of you were impacted by the DDoS attack on the servers of Dyn (a major DNS host) on Friday October 21st?

I was!

I was and I must be honest with you all, I was running scared for a few hours. My business lives and dies by the graces of the internet. I am a copywriter who has built a career by offering Etsy specific SEO services and product descriptions that incorporate researched keywords. I couldn’t offer my clients that research when I couldn’t even log on to see who was on my queue! I do keep a little red notebook with my week mapped out but that consists of the following details:

Designation (Website, PayPal invoice, or Etsy)

First Name

Order Details (Example: 1 Full = One title, tag, and product description service)

It did not include email addresses. I can promise you from now on it will. It is easy to become complacent in our business practices when they have worked so well for so long and this weekend was a big shock for me. It also doesn’t help that it happened right before my cross country move and the beginning of the pre-holiday rush.

I am a firm believer that all negative experiences are opportunities for growth and improvement. Simply by changing my order intake process by including a hard copy of email addresses, I can improve my customer service. I just wish it didn’t take something like this for me to realize it.
Luckily, I could contact the customers that had impending orders due and rearrange my schedule accordingly. The key word is luck here. I found myself staring at my cell phone, refreshing my email servers, and praying that my customers would understand. Many of you were dealing with the same issue and so I created a template for customers to send to their customers.

Please feel free to save the following template, and make appropriate tweaks to it, just in case this happens again:

Good morning,

I am writing this email to let you know your order has been unexpectedly delayed due to the DDoS attack on Etsy.

As you may or may not know, Etsy (along with many other major sites) have been shut down and cannot be accessed. This means I cannot see your content nor can I research your keywords effectively.
You can read more about the attack here:

{Link to information}

To give your content the time it needs for proper research, development, and writing, I have rescheduled your order to be completed on {insert new date} pending the restoration of the site.
Please let me know if this is acceptable to you. If it is not and you would like to cancel your order for a full refund, please let me know and I will process that as soon as I am able. Thank you again and I am truly sorry for this situation.

The Write Assistant LLC

I spent the rest of the weekend reflecting on this issue, examining my business practices, and updating my VIP followers in my Facebook group COPYWRITING FOR CREATIVES . I have since come up with the following survival guide for internet glitches.

Step 1: Breathe.

Step 2: Confirm status of event through reliable sources (if possible).

Step 3: Write down all orders impacted by glitch along with contact information (if possible).

Step 4: Draft contact response.

Step 5: Personally email response to customers.

Step 6: Post updates on all your working social media platforms.


That last bit is important. I struggled with it. I could have spent time outside with my family or researching blog posts but I kept aimlessly scrolling. How many of you did the same? Eventually all was restored. Eventually I could contact all customers and schedule accordingly. I did come across the following guide and think it is worth keeping here as well.

How to Reset Your DNS Server:

Step 1: Open “Network Connections” in the Control Panel.

Step 2: Right click on your current connection and select Properties.

Step 3: Double click the “TCP/IPV4” Properties.

Step 4: Click the radio button.

Step 5: Type in the Preferred Server field.

Step 6: Type in the Alternate Server field.

Step 7: Save on exit.

If you need to flush out your cache, you may do so by following these steps:
(Chrome Browser)

Step 1: Type chrome://net-internals/#dns into the browser field.

Step 2: Press the “Clear Host Cache” button.

Step 3: Run Command Prompt and execute ipconfig/flushdns

So you see, we will survive. We will all learn something. Some of us may not have been so lucky though. How did you handle this past weekend?

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