Back in March we wrote a post about the danger of unethical hack repair services. This is certainly not the only area that we deal in where there is unethical behavior. On a fairly regular basis we are contacted about issues from companies that are being paid to maintain websites despite not knowing what they need to do maintain the websites and not having the ability to perform that maintenance even if they knew what it was.
In that post we discussed a company called TVCNet, which also does business as hackrepair.com, thehackrepairguy.com, and “The Hack Repair Guy”. We were stunned by a recent interaction with them and felt it was important to write about what happened so that public at large could be aware as well. Here is what we wrote about them in that post:
What we haven’t dealt with before is a company that offers to clean up hacked websites contact us and admit that they were unable to determine how a website was hacked and wanted us to do it for them. Then last week we were contacted by a representative from TVCNet, which also advertises their service at hackrepair.com. They told us that they were good at removing the hack code, but a website they cleaned was being reinfected and they couldn’t determine what was allowing the website to be reinfected. The infection that they describe was one that should have been very easy to determine the source of if they had even very modest experience dealing with cleaning up after hacks. It certainly should not have been a problem for someone that is charging clients 350 dollars to clean up a hacked website (they apparently charge extra to upgrade software, even though that is often essential for securing a website).
With a company operating in what we consider an unethical manner, it is not a surprise that they are also lying about their service. They claim that they “We will work direct with Google staff, and ensure your web site is unblocked by Google”. The truth is getting unblocked by Google is a completely automated process that doesn’t involve working directly with Google staff.
On Monday, they left a comment on our blog that sidestepped the substance of post, it appeared that may not have even bothered to read the post, while making a number of accusations against us (we moderate comments so you won’t see it). We sent them an email letting them know we would not be posting the comment and informing them that we would post a correction if there was a factual mistake in the post. We are always happy to post a correction if there is a factual mistake in one of our post, that is mentioned in the “Did We Make a Mistake?”section of this blog’s sidebar.
The next day we received an email from them that claimed the post was inaccurate, but did not dispute any of the facts present in the article. What they did instead was to falsely accuse us of slander. It is impossible for our written post to have been slanderous, but it is also was not any other form of defamation either. Defamation requires, among other things, that a statement of fact be false. We stand behind the facts in that article as well as the opinions presented. They so far have also not disputed any of the facts present in the post.
In both instances they requested we remove the post. In the second instances they tied the request to their false accusation of slander, with the implicit implication of bringing that up that an illegal act had occurred and that there could be legal remedies. We won’t be doing that as it is important for the public to know of the danger of unethical hack repair services, especially if companies don’t want you to know about it.
There most recent response also raised other troubling issues. In the email they claim to have had to spend over 40 hours clearing up the hack in question. We have never spent anywhere that much time clearing up after hack and the hack in this case was particular simple so it should not have taken that long. To us, that seems to be an indication that something is really wrong with their capabilities or process. That further backs up our opinion that they operate in unethical manner by providing a service that do not have the necessary experience to do properly.
That response also indicated that they had moved that hacked clients to their hosting service. We strongly believe that hack repair providers should not involved in any way in with moving users to a hosting provider they have a financial relationship with, especially one that has had security issues within the recent past. In a post last year it was disclosed that TVCNet’s servers come “with the standard formmail.cgi XSS and cgiecho information disclosure vulnerabilities”. That post also claims that “you can bet they spin more than their fair share of BS.” So we are not the only people that have concerns about this company.
Before publishing this post, we will be offering not publish it as long as TVCNet agrees to stop trying to intimidate us into suppressing our previous posting about the danger of unethical hack repair services and stop making potentially defamatory statements about us. We hope they take up the offer and stop making a bad situation of their own making worse. If this is posted, it means that they continue to want the public not be able read this important information.
Update (April 22, 2011): Since this post was published the situation has taken an odd and disturbing turn. Employee(s) of TVCNet have become rather obsessed with our company and our employees. They have been posting bizarre, incoherent rants about us, as well as posting personal information about employees, across the Internet. At the same time they have not informed us of any actual factual mistakes in our original post, which if they actually existed we would happily post a correction for. What is occurring is certainly not something that a reputable company would be doing and unfortunately seems to be an indication that the employee(s) of the company may have mental health issues, if that is the case we certainly hope that they will get help for those issues.