Elm Park card shop owner: ‘Website hack will make customers think I’m Muslim extremist’

Pam Davis with her virus hacked website

Pam Davis with her virus hacked website - Credit: Archant

A web hacker has left an Elm Park card shop owner worried customers will think she’s a religious extremist.

How the website is supposed to look

How the website is supposed to look - Credit: Archant

And Pam Davis, who runs Kardz and Balloons in The Parade, has criticised website host BT for refusing to fix the site without a £500 fee.

How the website is supposed to look

How the website is supposed to look - Credit: Archant

“A customer rang me at the end of September and said: ‘I’ve just tried to look on your website but it’s been hacked’,” said Pam, 49.

“I didn’t know that could even happen, but the content isn’t very nice.”

About 200 people a month visit Pam’s website, which she bought from BT in 2011 to raise her profile.

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But where the page once contained pictures of new stock and information about the business, there is now a blackened world map with what looks like blood smeared across it.

It reads: “I don’t forgive... I don’t forget...”

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Further down is the message: “I’m sorry admin but this site closed by General Failure Attacker, I hack lonely and I’ll hack anyone who don’t accept Allah, so let’s kick the peace [sic].”

It adds: “Th3r3 !s no god but Allah.”

Pam, who paid £800 for the website, said she was surprised to be targeted.

“I’m just a little card and balloon shop,” she said. “I’m not a Muslim.

“I can’t understand why this guy would hack a shop like this – he’s probably just doing it to whatever sites he can find.

“The day it happened, I cried and cried. I’ve recently lost my dad and it was just the final straw.”

Given the amount she’d paid out for the site to begin with, Pam hoped a quick phone call to BT would solve the problem.

But it turned out being hacked was just the start of her woes.

“BT are saying it’s not their fault,” she said. “But it’s not my fault, either, and now they’re asking me to pay extortionate amounts of money.

“They said these people had hacked quite a lot of their websites, and I need to pay £500 for it to be rebuilt or £100 for a “clean-up” – but that probably won’t work because they could hack it again.

“I just want BT to put it back. Why should I have to pay for someone else’s criminal damage to £800 of my property?”

After being contacted by the Recorder today, a BT spokesman said the page had been removed from the website.

“We are speaking to the customer about the best course of action to help protect her website and how she would like to proceed,” he said. “We are also investigating the circumstances of this incident.”

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