So the last 24 hours have been super fun! Someone apparently hacked a subsite of the blog and posted some malicious stuff. And now a whole host of awesome things have resulted!

First, the good news is that the bad stuff is gone. The entire subsite is gone in fact. And we have good the good housekeeping seal of approval from Symantec that the site is safe and good to go. So everything is A+ in that department. The problem is the fall out that is resulting from the original issue.

The short version is that when the site got hinky, Symantec/Norton flagged it as unsafe. Again, that has all been resolved, but it led to a bunch of other sites also saying it is unsafe (presumably they follow Symantec’s lead on this stuff). So while I am all cool with Symantec again, other sites are still being grouchy because presumably they haven’t gotten the word yet, or they just are big meanies. So here is the latest and greatest:

  • For technical reasons none of you care about, one side effect is that the white background image behind my blog posts disappeared. Which meant the text appeared right on the squiggly background and was a total joy to read (not). Fortunately, I was able fix that most of the way. I have an older graphic from before the site was widened, so the white now goes across all but the far right sidebar. I think this is an easy fix, but I need my designer’s help to tweak the graphics and fix the coding. This is just a cosmetic issue that bugs my perfectionist self, but no real problem other than being ugly. I am hoping this is cleared up pretty quickly, but it may be next week before it is done, since weekend. [Updated 1/12: The white background is now fully fixed and should look fine for everyone now. If yours still looks funky, try clearing your cache and see if that helps.]

  • FB and Twitter must have gotten word through the Symantec grapevine that my site was mean and scary, and they stopped letting people post direct links to the blog from their sites. So as of yesterday, basically you couldn’t post a link to my blog or to a specific post using the actual blog URL. But we have progress people!
    • First off, Facebook seems to be working again. I was able to post two links, one to the main URL and one to a specific post, both using the blog URL and FB took it. So that seems to be solved, but please tell me if you run into any further problems with this.
    • Twitter is still not working. I have filed a request with them to look at the site and fix the problem. I have no idea how long that takes, but it seems like the wheels are in motion. The workaround for now on Twitter is that you can retweet my posts, copy the URL I am using for your own tweet, or post using a shortened URL (like tiny url or something similar). It doesn’t seem to care that the post goes to the blog, only that it LOOKS like it is going there. If you want to tweet a link to a post and need help with a URL, please tell me and I can get you one that works. [Updated 1/9: As of tonight, links on Twitter seem to be working again! Hurray! If anyone notices any more Twitter issues please tell me.]

  • Email pretty much is hating on me right now. I have no freaking clue why, but somehow the issues with the blog seem to have trickled into my gmail and despite the fact that there is ZERO evidence of any real malicious activity there, things are not working correctly.
    • If you have Gmail, my messages seem to be coming through, but sometimes there is a warning telling you to be careful and I might be trying to steal your soul. I have had reports that people who got my newsletter who have gmail accounts could open it, but not click on links or see images. I am guessing that if you get the Daily Digest and are on gmail it will be the same problem. I am looking into this to see if I can figure out how to get gmail’s blessing again. My hope is that once they get word that I am all clear from Symantec, they will relax their craziness. If anyone knows any way to appeal or to get them to start approving my messages again, I’d love to hear it. [Updated 1/9: Apparently Gmail doesn’t hate me quite as much as I thought. While some folks with Gmail are having trouble opening links in my newsletter, others are reporting no issues, so this seems to be a case by case thing. I am not sure how many people are still having problems with messages being marked suspicious.] 
    • Yahoo just pretty much hates me. I can not send any email to anyone with Yahoo. I can get your messages, but I can’t reply. Word on the street is that once you are on the Yahoo shit list, it never goes away. There is no email to contact, no appeals process, nada. So fingers are crossing that again, once they get word the site is clear, this will resolve too, but honestly I am not counting on it. So if you have a yahoo email address, please know I can’t write you back. If you have an alternate email you can use, that is awesome. If not, if you can give me an alternative way to contact you, that would be great.
    • If all else fails here, I will open up a new email address. I just REALLY don’t want to do that for obvious reasons, so I am going to give it a bit of time to see if it resolves or if I can figure out a solution. But I will find a workaround if I have to. FWIW, Outlook seems to be working fine and I have no specific reports of any other email services having issues.

Ok, so that is the story of my wonderful technology hell. Thank you to the random hackers who have nothing better to do with their time than fuck up people’s sites for fun!

Thank you to everyone who has given me a heads up about problems they are experiencing. I really appreciate it, as I don’t always see them on my end, so please never feel bad about letting me know. If anyone has any brilliant ideas on how to fix the remaining issues, I would love to hear them. And in the meantime, thank you so much all of you for bearing with me. Sadly no one tells you when you start blogging that somehow you also have to be able to deal with a host of technical shit that you have no idea how to fix.

Keep an eye on this post as I will update as I have more news. Thanks everyone!

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FILED UNDER: News and Notes
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