Where better to steal blog passwords than over the open wifi at a blogger conference?
…OK, I don’t know for an absolute fact that’s where and how this blog got hacked, but it does seem extremely likely. So Blogworld Expo attendees, be forewarned — and check your blogs. Specifically, check the source code of your most recent posts — especially if you use WordPress.
Yesterday I posted about how a reader let me know that a huge chunk of spam had shown up in a post I made from Blogworld Expo in Las Vegas. As I investigated this further with the help of readers (especially Mihai Parparita) and my colleague Justin Crawford, I learned that someone had gained access to my WordPress installation (most likely by stealing my password) and inserted spam directly into my post. This problem appears to have started only very recently — while I was at Blogworld, on the conference wifi network.
Of course, this also could have occurred on the ethernet at my hotel in Vegas (the Marriott Suites on Convention Center Dr.) Or when I turned sharing on for my laptop to give a friend net access from my room (because they sell ethernet access per connected device, not per room — a total ripoff).
My hacker attempted to be a little sneaky about it. He/she used the CSS command “overflow: hidden” to keep the spam from appearing on my blog. But it did come through on my feed. Oddly, I couldn’t see the spam through my feed reader application Newsfire; nor did it appear in the built-in feed reader in Safari. But it was clearly visible in web-based feed readers like Bloglines and Google Reader.
I’m working to lock out this hacker and upgrade WordPress. But I’m also investigating how to prevent this from recurring. I travel a lot and go to a lot of conferences, so I’m on open wifi and hotel connections a lot.
Got any suggestions for preventing blog hacks? Please comment below. I have to leave on another trip shortly and could use all the help and advice I can get. Thanks.