A Scary Saturday in Local Cyberspace

Jul 24, 2016 | 2 comments

My Scary Computer Screen

My Scary Computer Screen

Yesterday I blogged about my blog – something I rarely do, but I wanted to talk about its successes and give a bit of a ‘hats off’ to all of the readers who have participated in the process through their comments and personal contacts.  My process is to write the blog in a Word document and then go to my blogsite, do a bit of editing, add the photographs and then post it. I was ready to post and ‘go live’ a few minutes after 7:00 a.m. but… my blog site (the part the public sees) was gone!

Yes. Gone.  The computer screen was blank except for a short message in 10-point type:  “Hacked By Anonymous Arabe.”   My dashboard (the back-room part of my website) was still up and running at that point but within five minutes it too went blank with that same short message. And then my entire website disappeared.  Scary as hell.

mikes-computer-repair-site-top-smallI immediately put in a call to Mike Challis, my Computer Guru.  I had to leave a message.  It was Saturday, after all.   Another call to beachdog.com, my server host whose voicemail message said to send an email if it was an emergency.  It was and I did.

Mike called back within an hour or so.  He had already taken a look at my website and determined that the site had been “defaced” but not deleted and I asked him to please go to work to restore the site.  It took him two hours including installing new passwords and patches and other security safeguards.  Along the way, he kept me informed by telephone and through FaceBook.  He has been upgraded, in my mind, from Computer Guru to Computer Angel!!

Apparently, it was a server-wide hack.  “Possibly a MySQL injection attack,” according to Mike.  By noon, the beachdog website said that 1/3 of the sites on the host servers had been attacked.  By 5:00 they were reporting that their entire server had been affected and they had gotten about half the sites back online.  Each had to be restored manually and individually so it took a long time.  By 11:30 P.M. all but a few of their sites were “back online, scrubbed and certified clean.”  What a siege!

beachdog-adAccording to the latest beachdog post:  The source of the hack was a site hosted with us that is not webmastered by us.  The site owners had allowed plugins become outdated, which is how the hacker got in.  We are exploring how to protect “our” sites like these that we don’t control.  Hosting clients will receive more information by email in a few days.  In the meanwhile, please report any issues on your site.

In my Luddite mind of course, the fact that it all was happening just at the time I was trying to post my blog, made me somehow responsible – some sort of synchronicity gone bad. I’m so glad to learn that such was not the case.  And I fully commiserate with all of you who shared in the “Hacked By Anonymous Arabe” experience yesterday!

P.S.  My blog was finally posted about 7 o’clock last night.  Without further incident.

 

2 Comments

  1. Stephanie Frieze

    Good to know that you weren’t being singled out and targeted by history hating Arabes!

    Reply
  2. Caroline Miller

    Thanks for sharing, Sydney. I’ve shared your comments with my gurus, but presume they already know about how this stuff happens. Had a red paged freeze on my computer on the same day. Fortunately, one of my 4 computer gurus helped me get out of it unscathed. Have great empathy for your episode and am wiser for it..

    Reply

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