The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Blog Attack and the Aftermath

         I'm now on the list for Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group, and the following post certainly fits into the category of insecurity.    You can still sign up for Alex's group and join in the confessional experience of it all.   Click here to find out more.

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          Since I got sidetracked by BlogWorld on my Monday post I decided to postpone the next part of my series about my blog changes until today.  Changes happen, and sometimes unexpectedly.  It's how we handle the changes that is the most relevant thing and not the necessarily the changes themselves.

            Before I continue I do want to remind any readers in the Southern California about my BlogWorld contest giveaway.   If you can be in Los Angeles November 4-5 you can enter for an Expo Pass to BlogWorld.  And even if you can't, you might enjoy reading about the BlogWorld Conference and Expo. Click the link for more information.

           So back to the changes.  My Labor Day post first hinted that changes had happened and were going to continue to happen on Tossing It Out.  Then a later blog post confirmed that Google AdSense had been a recent addition to my blog.   But there were some other changes that I don't think anyone mentioned.

           Between late August and early September there was a sweeping epidemic of "Warnings" attached to blogs saying that they were possibly distributing or displaying links to sites that were distributing malware. You undoubtedly saw some of these and perhaps were even affected yourself.  My blog was and when it happened I was distraught.

           At first I had visions that my blog was going to be history.  I began to consider the idea of stopping my blogging activity entirely.  I was away on a vacation and couldn't do much of anything.  When I did get back home I guess maybe I panicked a bit hoping to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.  I had no idea where the malware culprit could be residing so I began an all out attack to cleanse my blog from anything that might be responsible.  While I was at it I decided to do some major blog cleaning--period.

          One of the first things I did was get rid of nearly all of the awards and badges, including the special page I had set up for them..  I became ruthlessly unsentimental about this.  I will have more to say about this in an upcoming post.

          Next I began cleaning up my blog rolls.  I had already been receiving emails that others were removing my link from their blog rolls because of the malware warnings.  The ones I was removing were not acts of reprisals but long overdue clean-up of defunct and long inactive blogs.   I also removed some links of blogs that I had long stopped visiting for one reason or another.  I have considered the possibility of entirely removing my blog roll, but I can't bring myself to do that.  For one thing it's too useful for me to use to jump over to blogs I visit with great regularity.  Although if you don't see yours listed don't be overly concerned if you are a regular commentor since I try to visit all of the blogs of those who comment on mine.

         Following the recommendations of the Google Webmaster report and help pages I pinpointed part of the problem as possibly being related to a Linky List on one of my past posts.  To be safe I started eliminating old Linky Lists.  I hated losing those, but on the other hand I wasn't finding the time to refer to those lists anyway.

          The purging of all of these aforementioned things apparently did the trick for clearing my blog to be acceptable to Google and the warning was removed.   Some damage had been done.  I lost sixteen followers and I think some of my regular visitors were afraid to stop by even after the warning was removed.  However, whatever sixteen followers that I lost have now been replaced by more than twice that number.  The state of the blog appears to be back to normal.

          For me this was a big scare.  I hated the thought of losing the blog and all of my work going down the drain.  Fortunately the scare was over pretty quickly, but not without having left a mild aftershock bit of trauma.  Starting over would have not been fun.  But the event brought Tossing It Out to a state of renewal and hopefully for the better.  My goal now is to hone this blog space to be what I hope will be more professional.

          My blog roll will continue to be pared down.  I am trying to minimize the amount of clutter on the page without sacrificing the more vital aspects.  The awards will probably stay gone and as I said earlier I will be posting more about this topic in the weeks to come.

           One other change that I will be talking more about in a future post will be the addition of some new blogs.  I don't want to say much at all about this topic until the upcoming post appears, but I did want to bring your attention to one new blog that is appearing under my name.  You may have noticed mention of it in my new profile that appears in my sidebar.

            The new blog that premiered on October 4, 2011 is Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.   If you click on the link you can read more about it and the intent behind this new blog.  I would encourage you to add yourself to the friends list so you will be reminded of each Tuesday post.  Don't worry--I'm not going to be posting on this blog too much for now.   When any important A to Z news comes about I will be posting it on that site.   Please leave any suggestions in the A to Z blog comment section.

           If your blog was hit by the malware threat, how did you react and how did you resolve the issue?  Have you been experiencing more problems with Blogger that ever before lately?    Are you planning to Blog from A to Z in April of 2012?
         

       

         
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49 comments:

  1. Glad to hear you got everything sorted out buddy. I've only been blogging since August and I would be crushed if I lost all my hard work so I know exactly how you must have felt.

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  2. I'm sure you spent a lot of time "cleaning" up your blog and I can read the frustration that occurred. I'm just glad you decided to go on, Lee.

    I didn't participate in the last A-Z, but I am considering the next one. I'll check out your other new blog.

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  3. Glad to hear that whatever didn't kill you only made you stronger! For this reason blogging is not my only social outlet. I try to spread myself evenly across Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ in addition to blogging.

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  4. I find this post very interesting, Lee. It is amazing to me how much of our sense of self we invest in our blogging presence. I, too, have had moments where one thing or another might tip off thoughts of walking away from blogging, entirely. Very recently, in fact. And yet blogging is a strange therapy, a way to meet people of like interests and to 'cross paths' with those whom we otherwise never would have known existed.

    I have long been a fan of cleaning things out in order to strengthen what remains. Sometimes in cutting the fat, I slice into the meat, but I suppose that is a natural hazard.

    Here's hoping that all of the efforts you put toward getting this blog, this highly person psychic space, into the shape you wish for it brings growth and tranquility and stimulation, all at once.

    Big fan of 'Tossing It Out.'

    -Suze

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  5. I think uncluttered blogs look far better and more professional anyhow. The point is the content, right?

    I'm glad you're not nuking your blogroll. I get a lot of hits from your link. Maybe once I have a larger base it won't matter so much, but as a noob, it's a decent percentage! (And thanks!)

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  6. Oh hey, I guess my timing was right - I somehow avoided your malware message. I got hit with it once at my author website, which is a Wordpress site and hosted through GoDaddy (is that the right term "hosted"?) Apparently lots of Wordpress sites had been getting infected so GoDaddy had hired a programmer to write a little something up, and I swear, within 3 minutes it was cleared up. I highly recommend hosting through GoDaddy...if that is in fact the right term.

    Glad to know all has worked out well. I will check out that A to Z site, but have to run right now.

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  7. I don't if my blog was hit by the malware threat because no one has told me that it has. I would hope someone would warn me.

    Yes, I have been having prolems with Blogger lately.

    Yes, I will be in the A-Z challenge in April of 2012.

    I will check out the new blog.

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  8. Thanks for blogging about this, Lee. I had my own blog scare back in the spring. It's scary that something you invest so much time in can suffer so many problems.

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  9. I haven't been hit with any malware on my blogs, just an occasional comment written in a foreign language.

    I've always feared having something like that happen so I keep a complete backup file of posts and pictures.

    A couple of months ago my computer crashed - unknown reason but I was fortunate to retrieve most of my data.

    There are websites that are infested with malware but my Norton always saves the day.

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  10. I like to read - and to write! - clean, uncluttered blogs. But I do struggle to find the balance - one person's clean/simple is another person's boring.

    And I've heard of the A-Z Challenge - I might have to check it out for next year. :)

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  11. Yeamie -- It's a good idea to back up your blog writing periodically. I try to back it up on a fairly regular basis.

    Miranda -- Would love to have you join us in A to Z.

    Jeffrey -- I don't do much with the other media, but I do keep a presence. I certainly don't write there like I do on my blog.

    Suze -- I always appreciate your well thought out comments. Blogging is therapeutic. It's much more useful than back when I'd write poems, songs, and ramblings that no one ever read. Cleaning should be an ongoing process that never ends. Thanks for the support.

    Kelly -- Glad to hear that the blog roll is bringing you hits. I do like the blog rolls, but I need to keep it free of the clutter of blogs that aren't doing much of anything.

    Nicki -- I have been looking at GoDaddy and other site hosters lately as I consider the possibility of going to a website. I guess I'll keep the blog as long as the problems are minimal.

    Gregg -- Hope you will click on the Friend Connect button just to be part of the roll. You won't be bothered with too many posts there--at least not until it gets nearer to April and there is more news to relate. Hope that malware thing is gone and doesn't bother any of us again. I haven't seen it of late.

    Talli -- Yes I remember you're problem. Fortunately it turned out well for your blog, but it does cause a scare doesn't it.

    Paula -- My safety programs seem to keep my computer pretty clean. I want to get an external hard drive to back up my files in case anything would happen to my computer. I hope it never does, but I hear the horror stories.

    Madeline --- I think I prefer a spare look that gets to the point. The gewgaws can be pretty to look at but they can also be distractions to the real point of the blog. Hope you will consider A to Z. It has a lot of positives to offer.

    Lee

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  12. I was so relieved when your problem was solved. While it was ongoing I did remove myself from your followers list BUT as soon as I heard you were medically fit again I put myself back on. Now, I'm off to follow on the A-Z blog. I wouldn't want to miss any news.

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  13. Wow I didn't even realize this threat was going on. I'm glad you were able to clear it up...and you haven't lost me as a follower:-)

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  14. if something happen to my blog i would most likely throw in the towel and say forget it. as for A to Z challenge count me in

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  15. I wasn't hit with any malware issues. As far as Blogger goes, just as I was getting used to it, they changed it all around. But I think Google is going through a face lift for its apps. Google Reader, Documents, Blogger, and News have all been changed up.

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  16. BOID ~
    That's the first I even heard about some Malware problem. Guess I dodged that one via my ignorance. (Ignorance - it's BLISS!)

    But, yeah, I've had plenty of other problems with "Buggy Blogspot" lately, as you are aware.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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  17. I didn't have problems, but then maybe something is coming, like the 'flu. I am looking forward to the A-Z blogfest of 2012!

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  18. Yeah, that was a weird deal when the malware warnings hit, and I did stay away from your blog for about a week. I do think it has to do with all the interconnected links (though I really don't know what I'm talking about).

    Glad you decided to turn the scare into an opportunity for renewal.

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  19. Delores -- I don't think the problem came from following, but from having certain links on one's site. And we all are so interconnected and share so many of the same links it affected many. Hopefully, the culprit is gone and stays away from us.

    Deana -- I'm sad to lose any follower and glad that you're still here.

    becca -- I know what you mean. It would be frustrating to lose our blog work. Make sure to sign on when you see the A to Z list.

    SBJ-- And they'll probably keep on changing. I just hope the changes make things better and not more complicated.

    StMc-- From what I understand the problems were only evident to those who used Chrome or Foxfire browsers. But bugs are everywhere. Maybe somebody needs to call the Orkin man.

    Susan -- I'm looking forward to the April A to Z, but it can take its time coming. Time's been going too fast for me lately.

    Lee

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  20. LG -- Like me, you may not know about how it all works, but I think you have a pretty good general idea of the interconnectiveness of blogging problems. The incident was a wake-up call that made me go into action to do some things I've been meaning to do.

    Lee

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  21. I'm glad you got everything resolved. This is a good reminder for all of us to stay on our toes. I'm now off to see your new blog! Julie

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  22. Glad it all worked out. And BLogworld sounds fun. ;D

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  23. I've managed to dodge malware problem on my blog but I used to deal with them all the time at work (I headed the IT department). I don't envy you that headache. But I have noticed Blogger being a little more quirky than usual lately.

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  24. Hey, I'm still in your blogroll!
    Of course I'm doing the A to Z Challenge next year! Whatever I can do to help, let me know.

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  25. thanks for blogging about this u.u
    i haven't been hit with any malware on my blogs :/
    nice post

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  26. I'm glad you decided not to shut down blogging, ultimately. Change can be good for us, so maybe this was a case of "there's a reason for everything." I hope the changes work out great for you! I'll be adding the A to Z blog now.

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  27. Julie -- I have so much to learn about computers and my blog and I often forget what I do learn, but it is important to stay on top of things.

    RaShelle -- I'm looking forward to BlogWorld for sure.

    LD -- Yeah, weird things have been happening. I wish Google would stop playing around and get everything just right.

    Alex -- I'm trying to keep my key A to Z bloggers on the roll. I'll be calling on you soon.

    Damon -- You've been lucky. I was shocked when it did happen to mine.

    Shannon -- I'll be counting on your support for A to Z.

    Lee

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  28. I got hit, too. I deleted the blog roll, and that seems to have solved the problem. I use dashboard to keep track of people anyway.

    Glad you got fixed.

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  29. I hear your pain. That was me about two weeks ago. Ended up getting a new computer (old one was outdated anyways) and great virus software. It would have cost me too much to repair and update. Glad you got yours worked out.

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  30. I don't know if I caught malware in my previous blog, but things sure went south and all over the place. So I had to start over with a new blog.

    And of course I'll be blogging for the A to Z Challenge! Please let me know if I can help again. I'm avaialbel to serve in ant capacity!

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  31. I'm glad you got it straightened out. I got rid of my blogroll a long time ago, mostly because it was hard to keep up with. I use Google Reader instead.
    Yay for the new A to Z site!

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  32. Lee,

    I have no idea of how these things happen, or why. Someone somewhere had to create these problems. What possible enjoyment do they have?

    Hope all is well now and remains so. So disheartening to have something like this happen

    Sig

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  33. MPax-- I rarely seem to make it to my Dashboard anymore since just visiting the blogs of those who left comments takes nearly all of my blogging time. I like the blogroll because it is more often in front of me and easier to look through.

    Marta -- Having to get a new computer is pretty extreme. I hope I don't ever have to go that far unless I'm wanting a new computer--well I'd like a new computer but I can't afford what I'd really like to have.

    Stephen -- I don't think the malware thing was your problem, but problem something to do with some of the other Blogger bugs that have been coming up of late. I welcome your help in A to Z again.

    Laura -- I have not gotten used to the Google reader yet. In fact I never get that far to try to use it.

    Sig - I think malware is a nefarious marketing attempt that is just a sneaky way to spam us, unlike the virus creators who just want to create chaos and do damage. It's bad either way and I'm hoping someone will come up with the solution that will end it all.

    Lee

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  34. Thankfully, I wasn't hit. But I did get zapped on twitter. So I had to clean up that mess. Not fun, but nothing like what you went through.

    So sorry to hear it.

    As for A-Z, hmmmm. I LOVED it last year, but it consumed my life. I gave myself an impossible challenge and managed to get through it with some fantastic results. As I have mentioned before, I plan to create a book from them, once I have the time to illustrate them.

    If I can think of a way to post so wonderful writing before hand, then I am SO IN. But I can't do what I did last year and spend five to six hours writing the post for the night before for the following day.

    Talk about waiting for the last minute.

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  35. Glad you got things cleared up. I did lose a whole blog a few years back. Had hundreds of followers, a global readership - one day it was just gone, zapped into oblivion by the Google Nazis who had (falsely) ID'd me as a spammer. I lost two blogs and all my Google accounts including email. That's why I switched to Wordpress for my recent Free Spirit Blog.

    Marvin D Wilson

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  36. Sounds like a real hassle, but I'm glad you got it all straightened out. I didn't have this problem, but you have inspired me to do a little de-cluttering on my blog. Thanks for stopping by!

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  37. Glad it has all cleared up now Lee. I got messages like that for a website I ownned once.

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  38. I've already planned on clearing my normal blog programing to participate in the A-Z challenge. My blog was tanked for about a week and I was completely freaking out. I don't know if it had anything to do with this but I was forced to move my blog to a new server due to outages. It seems much better now. :)
    I'm so sorry you were hit.

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  39. That is scary. Good luck with the new one :)

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  40. I am not afraid just been off-line and down. I took the blog roll off and as of yet have not but it back but I plan to.
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

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  41. Luckily, I dodged the malware bullet. It always bugs me how fast the Internet can turn on you. Blog cleaning is a great idea - and it will let me avoid cleaning my actual house.

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  42. Michael -- I don't know anything about Twitter, but I didn't know it could be infected with viruses and the like. Looking forward to your A to Z stories next year.

    Marvin -- That's a big hit to take. Did you protest to Google to get your blogs back?

    Marguerite -- I friend who is not a blogger had mentioned that all the stuff on my page seemed confusing to him and I was already thinking about clean up anyway. And then a few days the malware scare began hitting blogs everywhere. Cleaning time had come.

    Madeleine-- I hope it's cleaned up for good now.

    Ciara -- Yeah, I think you had a whole different problem. It's frustrating when things like that happen and much of it seems out of your control.

    Kelley -- I hope I get at least as many followers on the A to Z blog as we had participants last year. I want folks to stay informed.

    Jules -- You seem to have been keeping a low profile of late. I have noticed that.

    Lee

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  43. Wow. I didn't get any warnings about malware but I've definitely noticed more problems on blogger lately. I'm definitely looking forward to A to Z Challenge in April 2012. I had a lot of fun last year and discovered a lot of new blogs.

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  44. Leslie -- Blog cleaning takes less physical energy, but it can be extremely mentally taxing if you don't know what you're doing like me.

    Lee

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  45. Carrie -- The warnings were popping up on blogs everywhere for a while, but it all seemed pretty random. Glad you will join us again for A to Z.

    Lee

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  46. Wow, how scary. I'm gonna have to clean out a lot of old, unused blogs which I follow. I hope I don't tick off too many people.
    But, I AM going to miss Mom.

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  47. I'm glad you took care of the problem.

    I make my blog as clutter free as possible. I never had a blogroll, but I make the blogs I follow public on my profile.

    I care a lot about my blog and communicating with people through it, so I know how you feel.

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  48. Change is exciting! I'm sorry about your malware scare, but it sounds like it was a catalyst for you.

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  49. Hi Lee, Sorry to hear about the malware incident but glad to hear everything is good for you now.

    I do agree about routine cleanup of blogs. I wouldn't want to de-list a blog that seems on extended hiatus yet if the blog is not going to be updated its unfair to the readers, isn't it?

    Great post!

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