Beware of Geeks Bearing Online Gifts
A Blogjacking We will Go
Hi Blokesters. I’m back again! Crikey, I don’t know of many bloggers who have been resurrected from the grave as often as I have but as you can see I’ve lived to tell the tale.
I’m guessing that you would like to know all the gory details of what happened to me over the past couple of weeks, so here goes:
1. Somebody had sent me a link via an email that was addressed to me personally. Although I didn’t recognize the sender, the message was addressed to “Blog Bloke” indicating that the sender knew me and was not your run-of-the-mill spam.
Although I was suspicious it was enough to perk my interest and I decided to check it out anyhow. The site hung for about a minute which made me even more suspicious that something was amiss. It was making my hard drive spin like crazy and eating up all of the cycles on my computer, so I decided to close the browser tab.
2. Not long after that my internet connection started to drift in and out. My heart sunk and I suspected the suspicious site had installed something behind my back.
3. Worst of all even if I could still surf the net in general, I could no longer view my own blog site or my Wordpress dashboard. Meaning, I couldn’t log in to write a post.
4. I called my ISP cable company and asked them to check the internet feed. They reported that the signal was a little low and decided to send a repairman out.
5. I also called my blog host company and asked them to check my site. They said they could see it fine on their servers but for some reason only I was being blocked. I asked them to check and see if my IP address was being blocked, and they reported “no”.
6. When my ISP repairman showed up at the house he noted that my internet connection had dropped out at least 20 times. He gave me a brand new (faster) modem and a signal booster. I also bought a new digital TV tuner for blog central.
7. Unfortunately I still couldn’t view my blog site. So I called my blog host company and asked them to check their firewall again. Sure enough this time it showed that my IP address was blocked! Finally I was getting somewhere.
8. Apparently someone had made several unsuccessful attempts to log into my blog dashboard.
9. After the blog host company removed the block I could now view my blog and log into my Wordpress dashboard.
10. But not long after that my computer suffered a catastrophic crash that destroyed my hard drive and I could not longer boot into Windows.
How did I fix my computer?
1. Much to my dismay I couldn’t fix it right away. I have a plethora of emergency CD utilities available to me but nothing worked. All I can figure is the virus must have damaged the MBR or something similar that was irrevocable.
So after days of fiddling with it I eventually had to take the bull by the horns and do a low-level format. It is extremely destructive and zero’s out all the sectors in the hard drive. Only then was I able to reinstall Windows.
Oh yeah, the computer doesn’t work anymore and I had to cannibalize parts from three other non-working computers to get this one that I’m now using.
2. After that I had the problem of recovering my data from the backup hard drive. After formatting the master hard drive something bad had also happened to the slave, despite the fact I had disconnected it at the time. So more than likely it was the trojan virus that did something.
3. It showed up as an “unknown” partition, or in other words it had lost all it’s formatting. Geesh! So I had to run a special data recovery program which eventually recovered my lost data.
4. After that it was simply a matter of reinstalling all of my software again.
Beware of Blogging Geeks Bearing Online Gifts
What’s to learn from all this? Fact:
1. I was locked out of my account because someone had tried to hack into it. My blog host company is set up to automatically block an IP address after several failed attempts to log in. Which explains why I was unable to view my site or login to my Wordpress dashboard. Unfortunately they didn’t figure it out until I told them to check their firewall (twice).
2. I was obviously the victim of an attempted hijacking of my blog (also called blogjacking) and they destroyed my computer in the process.
3. I had caught a virus from an unknown emailer who sent me a link to a malicious site injecting me with a trojan. This was done intentionally by someone who knows me.
How can I tell?
1. Was it a coincidence that all my computer troubles started right after clicking on the link to the maliscious site?
2. Was it just coincidence they used my personal email address that is only available to visitors on this blog and addressed it to “Blog Bloke”?
3. Was it just coincidence that someone had tried to hack into my Wordpress account at the same time? The trojan was using my hijacked IP address and it most certainly wasn’t me because I couldn’t even view my blog dashboard let alone try to log in. Besides, I already know my password.
4. Was it just coincidence that my hard drive was also destroyed making my computer unusable?
5. Was it a coincidence that I had just written a series of posts on the problogger/splogger community and blog ethics?
I don’t know about you but that’s just too many “coincidences” for my liking.
What did I learn?
1. Clearly this was not a random act of unkindness. It was a malicious act by someone who knows me.
2. I will no longer click any links sent to me if I don’t know who the sender is, even if it is sent to my personal email address and addressed to Blog Bloke.
3. I need to purchase another backup computer (just in case).
4. I need to purchase an ‘external’ hard drive for backups.
5. I will continue to speak out on the subject of blog ethics no matter what they try to throw at me. Hopefully (more sooner than later) they will get the message.
But for now:
Until I am able to purchase another computer I will have to share this computer with my wife and child which will take away time that I have for blogging. But at least I’m back.
Oh yes, much thanks to everyone who sent me their well-wishes and a special thank you to Kathy and Jaffer who notified my readers of the problem.