Michael Crawford

Bilerico Went Dark: What Happened?

Filed By Michael Crawford | March 27, 2009 1:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Site News
Tags: hacker attack

The Bilerico editorial team wanted to let you know what happened to the Bilerico Project and our affiliated sites over the last two days. All of our sites were taken offline by a massive hacker attack.

The hackers caused massive damage, but Bil Browning and Jerame Davis are working feverishly to fix everything. Piping hot new Bilerico content should be coming your way soon.

Thanks for your patience as we sort through this giant mess. There won't be any new "real" posts today other than this one, but we promise to come back better and sassier.

More details about what happened after the jump...

We've been fighting off these Eastern European hackers for over a year now; they're the same crowd that took down popular feminist political blog Shakespeare's Sister a year and a half ago. They're professionals and they're nasty.

Earlier this week, they managed to take us down for about 9 hours overnight but we were able to regain control. They severely compromised the server though, so we had to get a new server up and running quickly. Yesterday, we got the new server racked up and were planning on making all of the switch overs (we also host quite a few Indiana LGBT organizations' websites), but the hackers managed to crack through our defenses again yesterday afternoon.

This time they firebombed the place; our old server is toast. Unfortunately, none of the data was transferred before they regained control. We have backups and are trying to get the site back up ASAP, but we're still suffering from the lag required to set up a new server from scratch, retrieve as much data as possible from the old server, install all of our attendant software like Movable Type, and then port over the Bilerico database and double check to make sure it all works again since our site was so customized.

If you need to contact, Bil please use bilerico(at)gmail.com.


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What operating system do you guys use? If you're using Windows, you should consider switching to one of the BSD flavors of Unix, especially NetBSD or OpenBSD and then installing software like PortSentry. Both of those OS's are really secure, and PortSentry helps prevent things like port scans.

OH NOES!!!1! I was wondering why I couldn't get to the site from home yesterday. I chalked it up to my crappy ISP. Sorry to hear it was actually more mischief on your end.

Consider this my technological Get Well Soon card...

sorry to hear about all the trouble, naturally. we all wish you good luck and all the best.

who are these diabolical pricks anyway? The Vatican? Some right-wing, redneck wackos in, as you said, Eastern Europe? Are you getting any assistance from any federal government organization (I can't keep straight if it's the FBI or CIA). Any luck there?

After what happened to Pam's House Blend and others not too long ago, I was afraid it was something like that.

Scott Kaiser Scott Kaiser | March 27, 2009 3:42 PM

Is the site hosted via your own server, or do you use a hosting company? This is one instance where it might make sense to use a hosting company.

Is there a law that would take these hackers to jail for this kind of assault?

I've no doubt this has been immensely frustrating, and I thank everyone who's worked to get it resolved.

Yet I'm out here wondering why in both public posts and internal notes to contributors the hackers' "Eastern European"-ness keeps being noted.

Thanks for info. Sorry for your trouble. It is worth to all of us to have you up and running. Good luck with all that.

I'm sorry that you have been the victim of constant harassment and these latest attacks. Such small-mindedness to think that this attack will do anything except make all of us more determined than ever to continue the good fight. I am grateful for the education Bilerico has given me. Keep on keeping on, guys.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | March 27, 2009 6:50 PM

That's bad news.

Can you trace who did it and prosecute?

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | March 27, 2009 7:45 PM

Congratulations, you have pissed off all the right people. These Eastern Europeans have rooms full of people initiating spyware among other things and are probably hired guns for whatever entity is after you.

Happy firewall building, come back stronger.

Yeegads! I'm so sorry. When I couldn't find you yesterday, I assumed it was something like this; not that I actually understand any of this.

What I also don't understand is, what do people get out of doing this? Assumedly, it was a lot of time and hard work to mount this attack. In what way do they profit from knocking Bilerico offline?

Anyway, welcome back. My computer routine was definitely flumoxed by not finding your bright, shiny virtual faces!

Hmm, the other, TGIF post went down.

Anyway, big hugs.

I'm sorry this week threw up a bunch of challenges for team Bilerico. Everyone provided quality content this week, and a great forum for people to put a spotlight on issues that are important and relevant.

You are appreciated, Bil & all the contributors, and thank you for operating this site. I hope everyone has a great weekend.

This message is for the Eastern European scumsucking subhuman slimebags who hacked into this and other sites.

Go to your local hardware store, buy a gallon jug of sulfuric acid, and a gallon of lye. Drink both.

Just die. Please. It's for the good of humankind.

Hackers, virus writers, malware writers, etc. are the lowest form of slime - even lower than KKK members, fundie preachers, and crooked used car lot owners.

Welcome back from the shadows again.

I sure am glad to see you back.

Whew! Happy to see and read Bilerico once again. You guys take care. We really need you!!