Tag Archives: Wordpress Pharma Hack

random updates

San Miguel Island buckwheat, Eriogonum grande var. rubescens, possibly protected by a cloak of extra-hot chili powder

Update #1: The gopher chronicles (Original post: Cooking for Vermin)

It’s been three weeks since I tried to ward off gophers by using extra-hot chili powder. People want to know if it works.

The conclusion: There’s no sign of obvious damage from pocket gophers in the treated area. The plants are growing and blooming normally. That might sound like success, but there hasn’t been any gopher damage anywhere else in the garden, either. So it’s inconclusive at this point. But I’ll post as the season goes on. I really really want this to work.

Update #2: Life post-hacking (Original post: I was hacked)

After I realized that my blog was hacked I cleaned out what looked like the problem code. But two days later the WordPress Pharma Hack was back. I did more drastic cleanup after that, and it looks like that took care of the problem.

The tide turns...

Even after cleanup, because it takes days to weeks for Google to catch up and reindex everything on a site, searches for my blog showed many titles for my posts as promising ways to buy various drugs without prescription. Even as recently as Wednesday, last week, the number one blog keyword was “Prescription.” For a garden blog it’s pathetic to have that word ahead of the next four on the list: “garden,” “plants,” “blog” or “landscape.” But the tide turned on Thursday, and the good words continue to rise as the hacker words sink.

Update #3: Aloe, good-bye (Original post: Exotic plant, exotic pest)

It’s been almost a year since I mentioned that my specimen Aloe barberae (aka A. bainesii) was in serious decline. Aloe mites had attacked the plant and I was blaming its fate on them. The plant continued to decline to the point that it had just a few growing tips that kept getting smaller and smaller. Something was very wrong and we cut the plant back to a stump one to two months later, leaving three small pups that were springing from the lowest two feet of the plant.

The dying trunk of the dying aloe, with the three pups looking increasingly worse. Time to pull the pups off to root them, it looks like...

Since then even those little pups have failed to thrive. Signs of mites have been few, so I’m beginning to think that some other cause is responsible for the problems. Hypothesis #1 at the moment: pocket gophers eating the roots. My main reason for thinking this is that there’s another A. barberae just a few feet away that looks robust, with none of the signs of illness the big plant was showing. I’ll keep my hope up for that plant.

A rooted cutting of the original big aloe

In the meantime, aloes being aloes, I figured that all the little branch tips I cut off might root easily. I treated all the chunks with miticide, stuck them in potting mix and kept them just-moist. All three took.

Quite frankly I’m not sure there’s room in the front for two giant aloes I had there in the first place–placing the two original plants so close was a mistake. So I gave two of the rooted plants to people in my office who were eager to grow this terrific plant. I still have one rooted plant, along with a half dozen more unrooted branch tips sitting on my greenhouse floor that are still green, almost a year later. I might end up with an impressive aloe in a pot if I can’t find a place for it. And if I root the remaining branch tips I could have a half-dozen more giveaways.

The original plant looks doomed, but pieces of the original clone live on. In the life and death world of gardens that’s almost a happy ending.

Update #4: Crest-fallen (Original post: Mutant Primrose)

In case you’re wonderng what happened to the mutant Hooker’s evening primrose from a May 12 posting, it looks like the weight of the extra tissue on the crested growing tip was more than the stem could keep aloft. Within a week of the original photo, the stem flopped to the ground, where it has stayed, still alive, but not thriving…

Now (early July)...
How the plant looked in early May...

Update #5: A different outcome for a crested growth (Original post: Deformity or Biological Wonder?)

My last progress report is on this mutant crested growth of a Euphorbia lambii. Since I posted on it in June of 2009, the plant seems to have incorporated the crest into its continued growth patterns, unlike on what was going on with the primrose above. Still, you can tell that the growth pattern isn’t quite what normal plants go through. Still interesting, two years later…

The crest as of July of this year...
The crest in June, 2009
A different view of the plant as it looks today. The spindly-looking-ness of the plant is my fault (forgetting to water it enough) and not something the crested growth is responsible for.

i was hacked

You might think of gardens and even garden blogs as little zones of quiet in the hubbub of life beyond. But try as you might the outside world always seems to find you. Some of the dark forces in the world found this blog and tried to mount a quiet takeover in the form of the WordPress Pharma Hack.

Diana of Elephant’s Eye was the first to notice when several weeks ago some of the search results for this blog were being hijacked with an offer to buy pharmaceuticals online without a prescription. My blog? Pimping Viagra and Tramadol? How rude. The situation continued to get worse as more results showed signs of the hack, and reached a point in Google Analytics where the word “pharmacy” was indexed twice as frequently as the word “plant.” I had no idea what was happening.

Eventually I tracked down the offending hack. Better yet there were several sites showing ways to make the beast go away. Fortunately this wasn’t the sort of hack where all the data vanishes, and at no point were any readers harmed by visiting these pages. But removing the problem required a lot of time checking out individual files and database entries in the secret inner sanctum files behind the scenes.

If you blog at WordPress.com or Blogspot you’re probably safe from ever encountering this. Both services have tech staff way more on the ball than I’m able to be.

If you host your own instance of WordPress, as I do, then you need to be on the lookout for it. The Pearsonified blog offers some useful ways to deal with the attack, as do several other resources. Just search for “WordPress pharma hack.”

At this point I think I’ve got it beat. Results on Google still show a few offending search results, but overall things are looking better as the robots spider through the content. So recovery from this hack is like recovering from a bad bout of the flu.

Some handy things to avoid getting hacked, or to quickly find out about a hack with it if you are:

  • Blog at one of the main blog platforms unless you have a need or desire to exert more control over your blog content, display or delivery.
  • Google yourself frequently, and Google your blog content. It’s not just for vanity anymore.
  • Keep your WordPress version current. Updating will take less time and hassle than righting the wrongs of a hacker.
  • Check your blog stats often. A big dropoff in traffic might signal a big problem with the blog.
  • If you see another blogger’s content being hijacked, point it out to them. The symptoms of this attack are invisible if you’re just viewing pages or writing content. It’s only when you use a search engine that you notice this particular hack.

So…hopefully that’s the end of this headache. Relieved of the need to figure out the prescription for the problem, I actually accomplished some gardening today–and blogging too. Life is much better now.

Stay safe!