Is Blog Hack

About a year ago, people started leaving me strange messages on

Twitter. “You’ve been hacked,” the first one read. “Check your blog,

it’s hacked,” went the next.

Even though these people were my friends, I ignored the messages.

After all, I watched my blog continuously and it looked just fine. I

had customized a WordPress.org template into a unique site design, and

updated nearly every day with what I hoped were attention-getting,

thought-provoking posts.

Finally, a good friend sent me a screenshot. Although my blog looked

fine to me, other visitors were getting a different story. All of my

carefully-crafted text was replaced by pharmaceutical advertisements,

and no one could read my new content.

Yes, I had become a victim of the nasty Pharma Hack, which was

particularly devious not only because it affected only pages accessed

from outside sources (meaning that every time I accessed my blog through

WordPress.org’s dashboard, it looked fine), but also because it is

nearly impossible to eradicate. I thought I fixed it, but then it came

back. I downloaded a plugin to prevent it, and it still came back. Every

few months, all my pages would change to pharmaceutical advertisements,

and people would start messaging me again to let me know I’d been

hacked.

What about you? Maybe your Twitter friends aren’t as thoughtful as

mine are, or maybe you’re still in the early stages of blogging and

haven’t built up a large fan base. Has your blog been hacked? If it’s an

outward-facing hack like the Pharma Hack, how would you know?

The truth is that our blogs get hacked all the time, as do our social media

accounts. Sometimes the hacks are obvious, like the one where your

Twitter account starts spontaneously generating spam links. Sometimes

the hacks are less obvious — they don’t change your account, because

their goal is to secretly gain access to your personal information.

Here’s another hack story, from electronic musician and software

designer n3wjack. Unlike my Pharma Hack, this hack didn’t affect his

blog visibly at all. To quote n3wjack’s post: “The scary part is that

this only happened when Googlebot was munching my pages. Not when I or

any other human passed by with a browser. So in other words, I didn’t

have a clue.”

That’s what hackers want, these days. They want you to keep on blogging

away, without a single clue that they’re working behind the scenes.

Internet security software is becoming more and more sophisticated

in fighting back against these hackers and other security threats.

Unlike previous iterations, this software is designed to prevent

vulnerabilities in Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and other social

networks. It’s also designed to alert you when your email has been

hacked. In short, it’s a program for our current security needs, and

every blogger and content creator needs to add this type of program to

their security arsenal.

Since I installed updated security software, I’ve gotten several

messages informing me of potential threats, and additional messages

letting me know that hacks have been taken care of. I had no idea so

much hacking was going on behind the scenes. On the other hand, we’ve

all seen other blogs and social media accounts get hacked. We’ve all

received an email from a friend affected by the Gmail London Hack, the

one that goes “I got mugged in London, please wire me money.” If it can

happen to our friends, why can’t it happen to us? Or — has it happened

to us already?

If you’re a blogger or a content creator, take some time this week to

thoroughly scan your properties for hacks. Install an updated internet

security program to keep watch behind the scenes. And the next time

someone messages you saying your blog has been hacked — believe them.

One thought on “Is Your Blog Hacked? You May Not Even Know

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