Archive for the ‘Announcements’ Category

In which I get hacked: Part 5

Last week, it started again. Numerous people on Twitter from various sites around the world reported my site looked like this:

Nothing on my site itself indicated any changes but something was hacking my Bluehost-sourced content and replacing it with its own. I was unfamiliar (as with all things to do with web hosting) with how this was happening, and (spoilers) I never figured that out.

What I did discover, with the help of Jared Lander from Bluehost, was how to mitigate the problem.  (Thanks Jared!) Forcing the site to exclusively use https links through a WordPress plug-in bypassed the whole “evil hackers will redirect my http content” thing. “All” it took was asking everyone to clear caches, restart web browser, or wait for the changes to propagate over time. It’s been 7 days and I have not had any reports of further issues.

The plug-in in question is Really Simple SSL, which automatically configures websites to use secure links: just get an SSL certificate, install the plugin, and activate it. It’s step 1 that’s a burden in many cases.

This cleared up the non-English main page advertising (for those who saw it) and apparently something that affected my RSS feed. I’m not entirely sure what that was, but there had been some stray BOM characters leaking into that which resolved once the SSL/https problem was addressed. Dave Jones wrote me that my feed, which hadn’t been validating, began working properly after the plug-in.

Much as I hope that my issues are over, I’m assured by a number of people contacting me that it’s not possible to run a secure website anymore without the help of professionals.

I’ll do the best I can. I’ll keep backing up my content. But that’s about all I can do.

Thank you again to everyone who reached out to me with support, feedback, and information.

In which I get hacked: Part 4

My site was broken into again last night and was down until this morning. What fun.

Welcome to another day of hackage fun.

This morning, the odd “consig.php” with its Base 64 contents and eval was back, along with an updated “.htaccess” file. I called up Bluehost support. They restored a safe version of “.htaccess” and suggested I talk with their “security people”. I said sure.

After a longish hold, they transferred me…to an entirely different company, who for starting at just $40 or so a month (and up), would provide me with a fire wall. The sales pitch was strong, as was their disdain and pricing structure. I thanked them for their time and hung up.

It was time to call back Bluehost again and yell at them a little. This time, they offered to set up an SSL certificate for 90 days at a time.

This might be even more exciting if their own certificate didn’t seem to be wonky:

I also deinstalled and re-installed my plugins, and generally followed the advice passed to me this morning by Jan Östlund in his helpful tweet.

Frankly, it’s been a pretty dreadful day. Of course, the kind words of support from everyone have been a lovely counterpart to the misery of doing sys admin work. I’m surprised so many people have had to deal with this exact situation before. At least I’m not alone.

In which I get hacked: Part 3

This morning, Google issued me an alert that a lot of my pages were 404’ing:

How interesting. So I hopped into my webmaster console to see what was going on.

Lots of 404’s were firing, and the crawl errors were all tied to those image files uploaded to my system by the hack:

I decided it was time to restore the site from backup.

Thanks to UpdraftPlus, I moved the clock back to Mar 20th, and re-created my first two posts in the “In which I get hacked” series.

I also restored my previous authentication, which I quickly updated to a new password. Interestingly, the hack introduced a different login name to my system “zerobyte”. I’m back to my original wordpress names now.

Stuff is still a little messed up on my end as I can no longer upload pictures. The upload process gets the data to the site but the media browser is borked. I have to enter <img src="" /> tags by hand, which is super annoying.

I have my plugins mostly disabled, and will attempt to re-install each of them as well.

Again, any advice and support is greatly welcome. I apologize for losing all my previous comments after restoring from backup. I will particularly miss this gem:

Bless him.

I’ll keep updating if I learn more.

In which I get hacked: Part 2 (restored after backup)

So I’m now working through Google’s Hacked Sites Troubleshooter: https://support.google.com/webmasters/troubleshooter/6155978.

I did not know about the site: search operator, so I followed their instructions, first looking using a site:ericasadun.com websearch, and then moving on to “fetch as google”:

Sure enough I found all those malicious sitemaps that were added this morning:

I returned to my search console and deleted them:

Damn right Skippy, I do. They’re gone now.

I then returned to the troubleshooting page and requested re-indexing. It still shows one of the sitemaps that doesn’t exist anymore (and yes I checked).

I’ll check back in tomorrow and see if the hacked sitemap is gone. I also requested the “reconsideration request” from https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/manual-action

Yeeps.

In which I get hacked: Part 1 (restored after backup)

Note: This post has been recreating after restoring my site from backup.

This morning, I woke up to a message from Google. Normally I’m very hesitant to open or click these. So I checked the full message headers (View > Message > All Headers), copy pasted the URL it was asking me to click into TextEdit, and looked at it letter by letter. It appeared legit. Someone had added themselves as a new owner for my website:

I went ahead and manually visited https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/user-admin, selected my account, and sure enough there was a new “owner” listed as of today.  To unverify the hacker, I had to go to my website and remove the Google-specific verification file from my system:

I did that. They could just have as easily unverified me the same way.

I should point out that I not only use four-word passwords but each four-word password has additional strings of numbers and symbols following or interspersed within it. I’m not sure how my security was compromised but it was. I have of course updated my password for the site.

Next, I tried to get in to start finding files modified within the timeframe of the hack. And then, I immediately discovered that Apple has removed telnet from macOS 10.13. (update: turns out I was thinking of the wrong tool. I needed ssh, which I later used to go in to a command line.) So I went in instead using CyberDuck, an ftp client. It wasn’t nearly as easy to track through many  hundreds (thousands?) of files as it would have been at the command line but I think I got ?most? of the problem fixed.

What I found was an incomprehensible “consig.php” file, about 500 image files — each one about 4-8 bytes in size, and masses of items added to sitemap files.

If you’ve had experience with this kind of hack, I would greatly appreciate any additional advice you have. Thanks in advance.

Here’s Google’s help page about when you don’t recognize a new owner: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/7281924

Swift Evolution and Civility

Congratulations to Chris Eidhof for all his work shepherding SE-0199 through Swift Evolution. The proposal adds a mutating toggle function for Boolean values to reduce in-code redundancy and enhance readability.

I’m concerned by some un-collegial reactions to its acceptance, which seem to boil down to “this is too trivial a change to the language” stated through sarcasm and ad-hominem attacks: on Twitter, on the evolution forums, and even a mean-spirited Github repository.

If you are passionate about Swift, I urge you to actively participate in the public review and comment process on forums.swift.org. This proposal passed with overwhelming support and the core team has encouraged similar proposals to fill gaps in the standard library.

New to Swift in Xcode 9.3 Beta 4: SE-0075 and SE-0190 allow better configuration testing

Two Swift enhancements (SE-0075 and SE-0190)  better enable you to configure your code for specific target conditions. They’ve gone live in the 4th beta of Xcode 9.3.

SE-0075 introduces a build configuration import test. This test enables you to check whether you can import certain modules, like UIKit or QuartzCore, enabling you to write cross-platform code that compiles regardless of destination. You can test for common scenarios like: “Am I on an Apple platform?” or “Am I on an UIKit-supporting iOS-like platform such as iOS or tvOS”.

All bets for the specificity of the latter check are off as of WWDC this year, but the configuration test should allow you to test “Am I on a Unified UI Platform”, whatever that turns out to be, so long as there’s a common module, such as UXKit shared across platforms.

It might help to think of this as module-wide protocol conformance. If the platform conforms to a module and can import it, then the code can be built with access to all its APIs.

#if canImport(UIKit)
    // UIKit-based code
#elseif canImport(Cocoa)
    // OSX code
#elseif
    // Workaround/text, whatever
#endif

Before adopting this proposal, testing !(os(Linux) was too brittle. It assumed a binary system of Apple-systems and Linux (and there are many more Swift destinations now). Enumerating every current Apple or non-Apple platform available at a given time is simply not future-proof. Tying the build configuration to a module, establishes a link between available APIs and the ability to import the API’s parent module.

This one turned out to be a really hard one to implement and all the credit goes to Robert Widmann, Rintaro Ishizaki, Ben Cohen, and Jordan Rose (and anyone else who pitched in) for turning an idea into a reality. This was also one of the proposals that gave rise to the new “implement first, propose second” policy that currently governs Swift Evolution. If you want to thank anyone it’s them, not me.

SE-0190 wasn’t as complicated, but it’s still Graydon Hoare who did all the work on making this happen while I was out of commission this past autumn.  In a nutshell, you can use a new platform condition targetEnvironment to test whether your code is running on a simulator and exclude code you know won’t work there.

Until now, you had to use brittle solutions like (arch(i386) || arch(x86_64)) && (!os(macOS)) to check for simulator deployment and (arch(i386) || arch(x86_64)) && os(iOS) specifically for the iOS simulator.  Now you can use #if targetEnvironment(simulator)instead (or its inverse, using !). The design is intentionally wordy to allow additional environment tests to be added at some future date.

So thanks to everyone who made this happen, especially when I could not.

How to check your security update

A macOS Security flaw opened access to users who didn’t have root passwords. So Apple updated computers overnight

Unfortunately Security Update 2017-001 turned out to bork file sharing, so Apple updated the problem both by issuing repair instructions and updating the patch.

To check whether you have the proper build, choose Apple Menu () > About This Mac. Click the System Report button and scroll down to Software. Click the word Software. You should be running 17B1003.

Thanks everyone.

p.s. Esopus Spitzenburg is my Mac mini. My MBP is Broxwood Foxwhelp. And yes, I’ve long since gone past Fuji, Gala, Rome, Honeycrisp, Pippin, Winter Banana, and many other varietals.

Black Friday Sale: Swift Style with a Discount

Happy Thanksgiving Week Everyone!

If you’ve been wanting to pick up an e-copy of Swift Style, there isn’t a better time. Starting tomorrow 11/22 through Friday 12/1, the book is on sale for 40% off. Use this coupon code turkeysale2017 to claim the discount!

So travel safely over the holidays, pick up some great reading, and accept my gratitude for being part of this amazing community.

Update: The PragProg website has been unresponsive. Brian MacDonald writes: “[W]e’re sorry about the delay. The sale runs until December 1, so feel free to check back in a little while.”

Sorry for the interruption

Short Summer Summary: Erica fall down. Erica go boom. Erica fall down again and injure more stuff. Owie.

I’ll try to get back to writing and posting soon. I have a neat discussion with Soroush Khanlou about splitting a sequence into index ranges among other things.

(I also have to finish updating my Moo app before the 32bitpocalypse)

 

October update: so basically my gallbladder fell out (more or less). I believe by the law of averages, that 2018 is going to be AWESOME. I may need to buy Lotto tix and cash in on the stored karma reserves.

Email me me if you need me. Address is erica at ericasadun dot com.