We were hacked. This website and two more that I administer were hacked by person or persons unknown. It was, in light of all that could have happened relatively benign. The hacker(s) found a backdoor and installed a malware program that did three things.
First, it enabled them to send spamvertising from my websites. Using the websites as a source, they sent out ads. If you got any ads for products or services you did not inquire about, it is spamvertising. That’s how we first discovered the intrusion. We received notice from a server host that spamvertising was coming from our site.
Second, it enabled the hacker(s) to set up phony pages, again with advertising. Through our procedures we found out that there were pages in Japanese, again advertising products. If you own or administer any websites, there is a simple way to learn if anyone has done this to your site(s). From Google or from Google Chrome, type in Site:mywebsite.com (where mywebsite.com is the address of your website), and press enter. Google will list every page of your website. Look through them to find any you did not create.
Third, if someone googled a topic and one of our pages came up in the search, when someone clicked on it, it might work or it might not. Some of them became redirects to, you guessed it, spamvertising.
But, we’ve fixed it now by downloading all our sites, cleaning them thoroughly, fixing any security holes, installing a higher level of security protection, and reloading them. We’ve also changed all passwords to make them much stronger.
I was surprised to discover just how aggressive hackers are. There are thousands of attempts to log in to websites like mine every hour. Thousands. Happily I can report that no transmittable viruses have been found so visitors to this and my other sites are safe. You need do nothing except continuing with your normal internet precautions.
Thank you for being patient. My regular posting schedule will resume this week.