Rants In Our Pants

eSarcasm Is Not a Tool of Satan (or Malware Authors)

Yes, eSarcasm was hacked, but now we’re back and snarkier than ever. Seriously. We’re all good. You can stop hiding under your desks now.

By (@tynanwrites)

September 10, 2010

Anyone visiting our beloved sacristy of snark on Thursday evening may have been troubled to encounter a scary warning like the one pictured at right.

No, that was not an elaborate prank. Yes, we were hacked. Or rather, our ad serving software was hacked, causing malware filters all over the InterWebs to go off.

After we determined the attack was real we took the site offline until we could figure out what happened. Our Web host Doreo and its main man Frank fingered the culprit pretty quickly:

It was a vulnerability in the OpenX ad server we had installed. Two fuckers from Germany had gained admin rights to one of our ad-serving programs and proceeded to seed some of our ads with badass Javascript code.

After blocking their IP addresses (and writing a strongly worded letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, requesting she deport those assholes immediately and also if she could send us some candid cell phone pix), we deleted OpenX with extreme prejudice. It will never darken our doors again.

All told, we went down for about an hour (though our girlfriends insist it was only 15 minutes). We can now semi-confidently say our site is free from malware and once again open to the sarcasm-loving public (and the occasional sarcasm-hating stripper).

If it’s any consolation — and frankly, it isn’t — we’re not the only ones who’ve had this problem. Security wonks at Sophos report that other sites using OpenX have been exploited in similar fashion.

Which leads to an obvious question: Why the fuck were we using OpenX in the first place? We’ll have to get back to you on that one.

As I write this we’re still being blacklisted by Google Chrome and the StopBadware sites. Hopefully they’ll realize we’re really the good guys so we can get back to what we do best — being sarcastic and ogling breasts.

(UPDATE: The blacklist appears to have been lifted. Glad we didn’t have to publish those illicit pix of Sergey & Larry after all.)

Thanks to Frank at Doreo for helping us come up with a solution. You’re a prince. Thanks to Google for re-reviewing our site so quickly and giving us a clean bill of health. And apologies to our readers who visited the site and encountered that bad Javascript (or one of those scary warnings). We’ll do our best to make sure that never happens again.






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