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Posted by on Oct 19, 2007 in At TMV | 6 comments

Centrist Blog Suffers Massive Attack

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One of the most curious and reprehensible facts of weblog life is the problem of sites being under attack. TMV has had its share of wounds, including one that caused us to totally dump our old design that we imported from Powerblogs to WordPress.

And, now, our fellow centrist site Donklephant has come under a massive attack. All that remains now is one post from a few years ago.

Its owner Justin Gardner writes us that it will at the least be down for a few days — and there is even a possibility that there was no effective back-up…in which case almost all of its posts and comments will be lost.

TMV extends its sympathies to Donklephant, since we’ve been there both in terms of damage to our site and attempts to damage it. We have also heard from weblogs on the right and left (TMV has good relations with most weblogs of all viewpoints and we link to them often) over the past few months and these attacks on weblogs are becoming increasingly frequent.

We sincerely hope Donklephant is up and running soon with its archives recovered and, if not, we are certain its talented writers will quickly make up for the lost effort with new, thoughtful posts. And, hopefully, some additional protections will be in place and the site will have some answers about who hacked the site.

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Copyright 2007 The Moderate Voice
  • Unfortunately, the Web is like the old wild west. Renting space on an ISP’s server is too much like renting a room over the saloon in a wide-open frontier town with no sheriff. The lucky make it to dawn with few perforations and minimal blood loss. The rest wind up hurtin’ bad and hightailing it out of town. Some end up on Boot Hill.

    When Oh!pinion was hacked in July, I had to cough up $30 to my ISP for a restore. I might undertake a backup, but the way these things are set up, that’s very hard to do. My ISP will do it at his end, for a fee.

    Given the risk and an ISP client’s limited ability to protect his/herself on someone else’s server, ISP’s should do more to keep the vermin out. Protective technology needs work, too.

    Same goes for blocking comment spam, BTW.

  • Shortly after leaving my above comment, I came across this story. It’s more concerned with government networks, but the threats and principle are much the same.

    Here’s a brief outtake:

    Because it’s easy for hackers to disguise where an attack originates, Brenner said, the best course of action is to tighten up one’s own networks rather than to place blame.

    The nation’s electronic systems are too easy to hack, and the number of world-class hackers is “multiplying at bewildering speed,” he said at a symposium on cyber security Friday.

    Perhaps if Blackwater is banned from Iraq its personnel could be put to good use tracking down malicious hackers and spammers. I’m sure the BW people could get these high-tech lowlifes to see finding a new pastime or line of work as a survival tactic.

  • MarloweC

    Joe said: “…these attacks on weblogs are becoming increasingly frequent.”

    This is a VERY important issue, and I hope Joe expands on this further. As the blogosphere is central to political speech these days, this is a CRITICAL issue.

    I find this story particularly interesting given my interest (cough, cough) in hacking in years gone by. Streetcreds in the scene are gained from successful high-profile hacks…and most hackers don’t know or care about political blogs.

    Thus, I presume these aren’t your usual hackers, but are politically motivated people with some computer skills and an axe to grind.

    Thus, if hosts tighten security, it will probably be effective against this lot. Real hackers would be more of a problem. I remember one back in the day who made a major institutional database, probably a bank, somewhere in Texas his personal bitch. He stored massive piles of cracked warez there, and occasionally opened access to others for brief spans of time…the download speeds from that institution were dazzling…while at the same time masking the identity of his storage provider. Impressive.

    Not much a host can do against someone like that. But hackers are a mostly apolitical crew, vaguely resenting all authority. These attacks are people with an axe to grind, I would expect.

  • MarloweC

    S.W. Anderson said: “Because it’s easy for hackers to disguise where an attack originates…the best course of action is to tighten up one’s own networks.”

    This is very true. The better the hacker, the less likelihood you will ever know.

    I remember watching in fascination one weekend someone probing every single port with grim persistence. I traced it back to a college in Santa Cruz…and sent the college’s tech support a nasty email about how their systems were being owned. Of course, it did not originate there.

    I hope Joe writes more about this issue…for I imagine these attacks are likely not script kiddies or much less serious hacker crews.

    These are probably targeted suppressions of political speech. A disturbing phenomenon.

  • Tyrone Steels II

    Some very nasty attacks have been directed at TMV but they’ve been thwarted (I handle TMV’s tech “stuff”). And I’ve seen the very patient, very deliberate port probes. I just sit there in sick wonder as this person(s) just keep trying and trying. It’s depressing at times.

    I’m a firm believer that the right and left are under attack by the right and left hackers in the blogosphere. As the days go by, people “I don’t give a damn” tanks are filled higher with sludge. And they spray it all over the place. Depressing.

  • I had to move my science fiction club’s web hosting to a different, larger hosting service after the third time that segments of it were wiped out, hoping that their security would be better. I’m happy to say that so far nothing has happened to us at the new site. It’s really pathetic that a site that is nothing but an informational site for a group like ours would be the subject of such an attack.

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