What was my welcome to 2017?  My website was hacked the day before December 31! It was down for 5 days as I struggled with technology and an uninvited interloper who took ownership of my site. In the process of restoring my site and taking back ownership, I clearly saw and learned three new-year lessons.

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Lesson 1 - Understand what data is important in life

We all live full lives and in this technological age of Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, websites full of great knowledge, we ingest a lot of information. It is coming at us fast and only a small percentage of this information is useful. Taking this one step further, only a very small portion of what we read is worth sharing and helps us become better individuals.

My website is a place where I put reviews of different Catholic churches that I visit, articles I write about faith, and features a podcast where I interview priests. I have five years of history on visiting different churches! I was confronting my own personal issue of all that work/data gone. What could I recreate? What is worth recreating? What if I started from scratch?

As it came to day 5, I had reconciled within myself that I had the podcasts saved and any churches reviewed and/or articles lost would be ok. It would be a new start for me and the pain of losing that data would not ruin my site and its message. As a matter of fact, it would be a cleansing.

How much useless information are you saving “just in case” you need it?

Lesson 2 - Confront the Uninvited Interloper aka Take back Ownership

The manner in which my site was hacked was via a new user. This user was injected into my site as owner through Google. Once this entity was assigned as owner they could do anything from building pages and posting content to corrupting files. The first thing I did was delete this user from my site. However, deleting that user was not as simple as it sounded.

This is a perfect analogy to people in our lives. It is not a simple task to get interlopers (friends, acquaintances) out of our lives. Let me explain what I mean by this. In order for me to get rid of this interloper who is now an owner of my site, I had to perform several steps first and then I could delete them. While you can "delete" people from your life quickly I implore you to think about the optimal way to do this. Think about how you can help them in steps before you "delete" them.

Who is hacking your life today, introducing corruption, negativity, and being detrimental? It is a new year and a perfect time to reflect, pray, plan, and cleanse.

Lesson 3 - Restore Point

The key to saving my site's content was having a backup of my data. In technology terms this process is called backup and restore. I picked a restore point from a list of backups and was able to get my site functional with all my data.

What is your restore point? Maybe October through December was a particularly rough period, introduced a lot of junk into your life, bad experiences, negative memories. Our brains are not as clean as computers. We cannot just wipe out negative memories and restore back. We have something more powerful than a simple computer backup and restore.

We have Forgiveness. Truly forgiving, even if it is yourself, will allow you to go back to your restore point. What makes this all the more powerful is that you will have learned and adapted from the negative experience. Computers don’t adapt from hacking (yet).

The key is to become cognizant as to when you are at a good restore point. Think of your restore point as that time when you are most fulfilled or happy. This could be a vacation or times when you have expressed gratitude. Your restore point is when your mind is most at peace. The point is create a restore point. Create several!

Getting hacked in any manner is a gut-wrenching experience. It is a new year and a time to celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord. May you have a blessed 2017!

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Copyright 2016 Peter Serzo