Pedantic Posts Was Hacked!!!

Yes, it is true – after a series of posts alerting the world to the methods of hackers and how to protect yourself, I was hacked. Here is what happened.

On Thursday I received an email from GoDaddy, my hosting provider for this site, alerting me that I had two hours to remove several phishing attempt pages that I had up. If I didn’t remove them within two hours they would shut down my site. Needless to say, this was news to me!

For those of you that don’t know, a phishing is when a fake site tries to steal a user’s login information or credit card number. Most of the time this is done by sending you an email with a link. Let’s take Bank of America for example. If a hacker were able to obtain the login and password for a Bank of America account, they could steal money by transferring it to another bank account. So the hacker would send you an email that looked like it was from Bank of America, telling you to check your account urgently. But the link in the email wouldn’t go to the Bank of America website, it would go to a nearly identical web page the hacker created to collect your login info (a phishing page).

Why the hell were there phishing pages up on Pedantic Posts? I can assure you I did not place them there, which means I was hacked and someone else did it. You see, a hacker doesn’t want to use his own domain name to host these pages. The site would quickly get reported and shut down. Instead they hack a site and put the page up there.

Realistically, the phishers don’t go out and hack a site. They probably pay a tiny amount of money for the username and password to a site that someone else hacked. Either way, they gained access to my site and put up a number of pages including several phishing attempts and porn advertisements.

It turns out that I had a pretty weak password setup for my site. 8 characters, only 1 capital, 1 number, no special characters. You better believe I have fixed this. Lesson learned. What was the damage? The site was down for 2 days due to my slow response time, but it could have been much worse!

New Look to Pedantic Posts

Some of the more astute readers have noticed the new look to Pedantic Posts over the last week. I am pleased to announce that the redesign is complete – welcome to the new and improved Pedantic Posts!

Previously I wasn’t happy with the way Pedantic Posts looked – in the past I took a couple WordPress themes and only made slight tweaks to them. But most free WordPress themes aren’t that impressive or way too busy looking. I’m still using the Bueno theme, but have made so many changes you might not even recognize it anymore.

The most obvious change is the amazing new logo. My sister Lara used her art skills to put together a great logo that features my trademark long hair and glasses. She is also spreading the good word of Pedantic Posts by displaying it on her online portfolio. You should hire her for your next logo!

As Matthew pointed out yesterday, the site looks bad on the iPhone. It’s because of the very limited number of fonts that are supported. I’ll be looking into fixing it eventually…

I should also point out that I have short hair now, and soon will no longer have glasses. I’m getting LASIK! Don’t worry, we’ll keep the logo as is.

Photo: Nattu

Everyone Hates Traffic, But What is Being Done About it?

Cars as far as the eye can see, you roll forward 10 feet and stop right on the car’s bumper in front of you. As you approach 15 minutes straight with various degrees of pressure on your brakes, you finally snap – “F@RT!” We have all been there. No one likes traffic, some people just deal with it better than others – for the 58% of Americans that live in large cities, it is a real problem. In my lifetime it seems like not much has been done to fix it – maybe make a new lane here, add a stoplight there, but nothing game changing. Is this all we can do?

Back in high school my friend Tony and I sat in traffic a lot as we had over an hour drive to the other side of LA for our club volleyball practice. He pondered “what if everyone who is sitting in traffic only thought about ways to solve traffic? Would we find a solution?” I’m not sure, but I do know it is a problem worth solving – millions of productive person-hours are wasted in cities across the world by needlessly sitting in cars that aren’t moving.

The hillbillies will say “how about you just move out of the city? If we just make smaller cities we don’t have this problem.” Bad solution – cities lower pollution, raise production, result in higher pay, have more culture, and encourage ambition. So back to the drawing board. Keep reading…