Since some days a rather nasty hack has been going round in the WordPress community. I actually noticed it myself not that long when I googled for ‘Chris Pearson‘ and what I saw in the results was… shall we say ‘interesting’?
Prozac, Levitra, Lexapro? Had Chris sold the ‘Best Damn Blog on the Planet’, AKA Pearsonified? I went to check out Chris’ blog but no. No Prozac, Levitra or anything else of suspicious nature to be found there. Just your regular well-tuned Pearson content. I even looked in the source code and a quick search for known brands ended empty. I left again, having long forgotten already why I googled Chris in the first place.
Now it seems though that this hack is making the rounds and becoming more and more popular. Leland Fiegel from Themelab first reported about it on first reported about it on the Themelab blog, more than a month ago already. Afterwards the issue was covered over at the WP Tavern forums but no solution has been found so far. Even the WordPress Lead Developer, Mark Jaquith, is left clueless and hopes to solve the issue ASAP. read more
There have been a variety of blogger outings lately, some with positive outcomes. Fake Steve Jobs Blogger, Daniel Lyons, admitted that he was stunned that it took so long to be uncovered, enjoying the attention. For Lyons, his blatant lampooning of Steve Jobs turned into a career booster. Lyons expected to be found out. Most anonymous bloggers worry they will be.
One of the greatest things about blogging is the freedom and ability to have your say, no matter what it is. One of the greatest fears is being found out.
Many bloggers live in fear of being found out, some at the risk of their lives. Others fear that their right to express themselves without persecution, even of the social kind, will be taken away by exposure. For those who blog anonymously, the law is one issue, but the social stigma is a bigger one. read more
The question I want to tackle in this article is the issue of the legality of blogger anonymity and what protects bloggers and not. This is a huge topic, so I’m only going to scratch the surface.
In many countries, there are no laws protecting freedom of speech nor journalists or bloggers. There may be protections for journalists, but none for bloggers. In countries where you would expect there to be such laws…it’s amazing how few there are and how flexible those laws can be.
Does a blogger have the right to privacy and anonymity? What rights do others have to expose them and why? read more
Security experts last week warned that a new strain of the Koobface virus is hitting Facebook, MySpace and other social networking sites. It looks for links and passwords to other social networking sites.
Social networking site owners work actively to put a lid on nefarious activity. On Tuesday, a federal judge in northern California issued a temporary restraining order against three people accused of widespread spamming and phishing attacks on Facebook. It comes three months after Facebook won a suit that prevents another group of spammers from using or accessing Facebook data and applications.
Virus creators are increasingly targeting social networking sites and other Web 2.0 technologies such as the micro-blogging site Twitter and instant messaging services from Google, AOL and others. Virus writers are also creating fake profiles of celebrities, real friends or business associates hoping people will link with them. Users can be tricked into linking to the fake profile, which can be loaded with various forms of malicious software.
The article by Brian Deagon showcased Facebook users who responded to an email from a “friend on Facebook” to visit a link that initiated a program that “rifled through his hard drive, installed malicious software and sent the same e-mail to all of Daradics’ friends on his Facebook profile.” read more
While this could be seen as another day-in-the-life update, the warning came with an interesting twist:
Do note that while we are recommending users move away from Adobe Reader, we are not recommending any particular replacement.
…Instead, we recommend users to find their own Adobe Reader replacement.
This way we get more heterogeneous userbase, which is a good idea security-wise. Nobody wants to repeat what happened with the great IE —> Firefox switch. As 40% of users switched to Firefox, about 40% of the attacks switched to target Firefox.
Monocultures are bad.
In the new world of online social, more and more people using the same tools, putting us all at risk as hackers and attackers move towards the natural migration of popularity. Monocultures are bad as they open the door to mass risks. read more
I’ve declared this the Year of Original Content and I’m inviting you to help join the fight against those who abuse our content.
Scam, spam, splog, and scraper blogs are big business, taking in $3.2 billion dollars in 2007 just in the United States. Russia, China, Zimbabwe, and other countries are generating even more money with a variety of Internet scams. Many of these sites and blogs use our original content to generate that money, often from blogs that have no advertising nor direct income – making money from our hard work.
It’s time to fight back. It’s time to be proud that you are the unique voice in the wilderness. It’s time to honor your hard work and declare, “I decide who can and can’t take advantage of me!”
Here are some ways you can join the call to celebrate original content and fight back against those abusing our content without our permission. read more
I’m working on my annual Things I Want Gone from the Web article and I’ve personally designated this “The Year of Original Content.” We’re done playing around with feed scraping and autoblogging.
The blog echo chamber effect of someone blockquoting and linking the same content as a recommendation, echoing through the web without original content, is a beginner’s mistake. Don’t do it. Always add your original voice and content to your recommendations, telling your readers why it is important to leave this blog and go to another, then come back for more.
Google took action to penalize duplicate content within a site and between sites, and added bonus points for original and unique, appropriate and relevant keywords around links, especially link lists, rewarding original content providers with nicer PageRank scores. Similar actions are being taken by other major search engines, directories, and legitimate content aggregators.
As a serious blogger, you’ve learned the lesson and stay focused on creating original content. You link to other people’s content appropriately, taking care to protect their copyrights and not confuse your reader’s, putting other people’s content in blockquotes with clearly indicated links and credits.
It now has its own Wikipedia page called Conficker as the worm is also known as Downup, Downadup, Conficker, and Kido.
According to the Wikipedia article, the computer work first appeared in October 2008 but spread fast after the first of the year. It specifically targets Microsoft Windows and Windows Server services using Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008. It has infected a few governments and hospitals, but mostly corporate computer networks.
On October 15, 2008 Microsoft released a patch to fix the bug. Heise Online estimated that it had infected 2.5 million PCs by January 15, 2009, while The Guardian estimated 3.5 million infected PCs. By January 16, 2009, an antivirus software vendor reported that Conficker had infected almost 9 million PCs making it one of the most widespread infections in recent times. Conficker is reported to be one of the largest botnets created because 30 percent of Windows computers do not have a Microsoft Windows patch released in October 2008.
The virus can spread through websites and USB drives, like flash drives, cameras, portable hard drives, and other USB connecting devices that trigger AutoRun, so Microsoft is recommending people upgrade their Windows programs and turn off AutoRun. read more
The front page of CERT/CC, the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute and cyber security experts, looks back at 2008 as the 20th anniversary of the Morris worm, sometimes called the “Great Worm,” which crippled the Internet in 1988. Created by Robert Morris, now an associate professor at MIT, it was one of the first computer worms to infect the brand new Internet, exploiting known vulnerabilities and causing millions in damages. It also was the first conviction in the United States as part of the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
Years ago, a friend of mine worked for Boeing IT and taught many company workshops and training programs that began with an amusing lecture on “Safe Computer Sex.” She taught fellow employees to take care when flipping floppies to avoid transferring computer program infections across the network. How far we have come from those days.
As our dependence upon the web increased with email communication, spammers, hackers and attackers spread evil through your email inbox. Now, they are attacking our websites, social media tools, and web browsers.
Microsoft announced recently security issues with the Internet Explorer web browser and the dangers of visiting websites that could exploit that security vulnerability. Many warned to not use Internet Explorer until it was patched and updated.
Google created the Browser Security Handbook to help people and developers understand the security issues facing web browsers and the steps to take to protect individuals and web applications.