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Scared and overwhelmed

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So this will be a novel, be warned now!

My name is Jeff Thompson.  I created a site called HotAirBalloonist.com.  I purchased  the Invision community and built a great site.  over time the invision stuff got more and more advanced and I simply could not keep up.  I created the site out of my own pocket.  So there was not a lot of money to put into the site.  All I could do was what ever I had the time to do on my own and or learn for myself.  The last major update put me out of the game all together.  There was so much new stuff that I could not even begin to understand that I simply had to quit paying for my membership with invision.

Well, now another site I manage has been infected with a malware/virus.  The other sites are wordpress sites and I have a much better understanding of how they work so I think I have them under control but my HotAirBalloonist.com site has gone down several times.  The Hosting people have been very nice and reinstalled from backup twice for me but now I can not even log into my site.  So....  What do I do?  Do I pay to renew my membership with invision for a software update that I do not understand and can not manage?  How do I get into my site and how or what can I use to clean the malware/virus out of the site and secure it?  Heck I do not even remember what parts of the upgrade that I did not understand.  I was just starting to understand the confusing "Pages" thing and they did away with that and Blocks was beyond me too.  I let someone into the site years ago and they installed a coin hive virus and it took me 6 months to figure out how to get rid of that and I am not sure I even did that correctly.

I have thousands of files that I simply can not loose on the HotAirBalloonist.com site.  I have 6mb service here at the house and .6mb up.  So I can not even do a backup of the site because it would take "LITERALLY" DAYS to do.

O and if that all was not bad enough.  My 47 year career as a commercial pilot was ended by a hemorrhagic stroke! and on my one year anniversary of my stroke my  7 year old son was diagnosed with Leukemia.  So as you can imagine, I have no money and it is hard for me to learn new stuff.  But I desperately need help.  

So advice and help is welcome.  If I renew my membership can Invison get my site fixed up for me?  Or at least help me fix it up?

Sorry so long but every penny I have is now on a fixed income.  Can not afford to waste anything.

All the best to you all.  The Invison people have been very kind and gracious to me and I thank you all for that.


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Hey Jeff,

Good to see you back around but I am sorry to hear about your issues, both with your health and family plus your community. 

Unfortunately, we do not have a service which would aid you in bringing your site back from a malware/virus attack. Typically, this would be handled by your hosting provider, as getting in through your hosting is how the attacker was able to modify/place these files in the first place. My first recommendation though is that if you haven't changed all your administrator passwords by now, do that immediately. The good news though, with your interest in upgrading, that would hopefully remove any backdoors in place which the attacker may have placed in existing files on your server and potentially remove any malware/viruses in the core files. Finally, I would encourage you to explore our Cloud platform if you feel there is a security issues on your existing hosting or you feel overwhelmed by managing all technical aspects of your community and just want to focus on the community part. Please let us know if you're interested in talking with our sales team about Cloud and we can open that communication for you.

If you need assistance in getting your site back online and have any questions regarding our software, we can certainly answer those with an active support license. However, we do not offer virus/malware removal as a part of our support. If you need assistance with that and potentially, direct upgrading assistance to help get you over these humps, there are third party providers to help with that.

Moving on with the upgrade conversation and brushing up on your last conversation with us, it was around upgrading from 4.5, which is quite older now (as you're aware in your comments). There were concerns about the third party applications/plugins/themes and customizations on your community which the upgrader was warning you about that you needed to ensure compatibility with.

The unfortunate news, I have for you, is that upgrading to the latest release will be a little more complicated as these third party applications/plugins/themes and customizations on your community will need to be compatible not only with our latest release of the software but also with PHP 8. As the PHP version you're on now has become unsupported by PHP themselves so we also have dropped support. 

The good news, is that now is a good time as any to evaluate your third party applications/plugins/themes and customizations and see if you really need them 100%. If you can go without them and that will make your life easier to upgrade/manage/etc... I would advise to uninstall it ASAP! The other option is to work with the third party authors to ensure there is a suitable upgrade path for that item. If there is not a suitable path to upgrade, time to also uninstall 🙂 .

Third party applications/plugins/themes and other customizations are great because they help add niche/custom functionality to your community that won't be in the core software but they also add a lot of management, stress, and cost on your end to ensure their compatibility between upgrades/etc... because they are code written by others so would fall outside our scope of support. This is what you need weigh. Feel like this was/is a huge contention point for yourself and what caused you to give up. Might be time to reduce overhead and simplify your community so that you are no longer overwhelmed and scared at each upgrade. That would enable you to simply click a button and have the automatic upgrader do it's thing to get you between releases 🙂 . 

Pease let us know if you have any questions on that.


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I am sorry to hear about your and your son 's health issues.

Regarding the forum, what version are you currently using? Do you have other scripts installed in your server space besides Ipb? What type of hack was it?

Besides overwriting of the forum files, a thorough checkup of your server space for any backdoors is in order imo. 

Do you have cpanel? If you do, check out their virus scanner tool and give it a go. 

Hope it helps.

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