James and the Giant Corn Genetics: Studying the Source Code of Nature

September 22, 2009

Very Irritated

Filed under: Computers and Coding — James @ 1:04 am

I noticed a major drop off in traffic back in July (on the order of 50%). Since that coincided with a substantial drop off in my updates over the summer I didn’t think much of it. Recently I got suspicious and checked out the top keywords on my site using google webmaster tools. Corn doesn’t even show up until #13, all the spots above it were taken up with drug names and even less savory words.

Needless to say I’d be hacked. Although hacked is far too personal a word for an automated bot that probably exploits thousands of blogs per day. If this website had been attacked by a real person I’d still be mad, but also flattered that I mattered enough to attack.

Regardless, I think I’ve managed to kill off the invisible text box in the bottom of every page linking to all sorts of unsavory pages, and hopefully the next time I get crawled by google I will be able to regain some of my previous, modest, page rank.

The lessons here:

  • It always makes sense to check out your own pages with the “view source” option from time to time
  • Google Webmaster tools are also a good resource.
  • Using WordPress definitely does NOT qualify as security through obscurity.

If I hosted my blog through some dedicated service instead of simply renting webspace and being my own tech support I’m sure this would have been caught long ago. Still as I mention in my about page, half the reason I started jamesandthegiantcorn was to have the chance to play around and learn, and tonight has definitely been a learning experience.

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