Malware detected on my website

Yesterday I decided to visit my own website (at oeilsj.com) and this page is what greeted me.

Google told me that my website was listed as suspicious and that it had:

  • Malicious software includes 3 scripting exploit(s), 3 trojan(s).
  • Malicious software is hosted on 1 domain(s), including oooabterast0.co.cc/.

Naturally, I freaked out.

I had never heard of such website before and wasn’t sure how long it had been up there.

I decided to email my hosting website, Host Clear. At first they claimed they couldn’t find any error on my site, but once I showed them the error page I encountered, they told me specifically what to do.

I’m going to put the instructions up here for those out there who might be in the same situation.

You can start with Google’s Safe Browsing Diagnostics: http://www.google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site=www.example.com (replace www.example.com with your own site address). It will show whether Google found anything suspicious on your site.

You might also want to take a look at my online tool called Unmask Parasites http://www.UnmaskParasites.com . It analyzes HTTP response and HTML code of web pages and highlights  suspicious code (links, scripts, iframes and redirects). Google’s Safe  Browsing information is also included in Unmask Parasites results.

As you probably know your login info can be taken from your browser’s cache by some virus, then credentials to access your hosting account can be delivered and used by somebody else. So, the most vulnerable place can be your own PC and I do advise you to have some good anti-virus software  Also, it is strongly recommended for you to check all the software used for your sites (applications, plugins, modules, themes etc.) time to time.
It should be  always up to date and fully patched (secure).

These tools allow you to find suspicious files or code which should be removed from your account.

After that you need to request malware review of your site.
Google will check your site and, if no malware is detected, will remove the
warning label that appears in your site’s listing on the search results page.
1. On the Webmaster Tools Home page, select the site you want.
2. Click Diagnostics, and then click Malware.
3. Click Request a review.
Once it’s confirmed that your site is clean, it can take up to a day or so for
the malware warning to be removed from your site in search results.

I found the instructions very helpful.

On unmaskparasites.com, I was informed about the malicious code that someone inserted into a page on my website so I could go through my files, find that code and delete it. Once I was done with that, I decided to change all the passwords I had to all my online accounts. (This is partially because my Twitter account was also hacked and tweeted a link to an advertisement that I guess we all have encountered at least once: Stay at home mother making $xxxxx a day online!) After that, I downloaded an antivirus program called Sophos (it’s free for Mac) and screened my laptop. Unsurprisingly, it found one kind of virus called Mal/JavaKC-G in one of my folders (Library>Caches>Java>cache), which I had to manually delete.

Now I am waiting for Google to review my website to check whether all the malware is gone.

I really hope it is all fine now.

Update! Google has finished reviewing my website and it is now clean and online again!

Advertisements

14 actors create 14 decisive moments

This is the link to the New York Times page with all the videos: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/12/12/magazine/14actors.html

And here is a blogpost about the details of the production: http://community.livejournal.com/ohnotheydidnt/54113481.html

I went through the videos before looking at all the preview pictures, so I watched the whole series without any expectations.

Of course, I liked some more than others. But what stood out the most, to me, is the music. It works so perfectly with the videos and makes the lack of dialogue not an issue. It creates mood and at times add a little humor.

Most of the videos are so intense they can make you forget about your surroundings and dive into their world/situation.

It was a great production indeed.

John Lewis Christmas ads 2007-2010

I guess one of the things to look forward to during Christmas is Christmas stuff on TV, movies and commercials. And one of the brands that have always done great Christmas ads is John Lewis.

John Lewis has an outstanding range of products (over 350,000 products in 2007) that they are proud of and want to use it to inspire their customers to shop for the perfect Christmas present.

However, as years go by, one might start to wonder whether it is worth looking forward to anymore, whether the quality of the ads has gone down.

It all started in 2007 when John Lewis launched a Christmas TV advert handled by the agency Lowe London called “Shadow”. The soundtrack is “Morning Serenade”, the theme from Prokoviev’s ballet “Romeo and Juliet”. Nothing in this ad is digitally manipulated. This ad really possesses the “magic” Christmas has.

Then in 2008, they launched another wonderful ad, which is my favorite from this series. The idea is perfect for Christmas and the tagline is right-on. There is a tiny hint of humor but it also touches you like the other ads. The soundtrack is a cover of The Beatles’ “From Me to You”.

In the 2009 version, there is an obvious change in style, which results from the agency Adam & Even winning the John Lewis account from Lowe London. The soundtrack is a cover of “Sweet Child O’Mine” by Taken by Trees. The ad is beautiful and touching. The idea of reminding people of how Christmas used to feel when they were young is simply amazing and gives a sense of nostalgia.

And here’s their latest Christmas ad in 2010. The soundtrack is a cover of Elton John’s “Your Song” by Ellie Goulding. There are a lot of criticisms out there for this ad. Some people feel that the ad ruins the magic of Christmas by revealing that Santa doesn’t really exist. A lot have called in to complain about animal cruelty (even though the animals were treated nicely during the production). On TV, they have cut out the part with the dog, which I think is a shame because it makes the ad for me. They are now targeting people from lower economic class than before, which I personally feel makes no sense since John Lewis is known as a high-class brand whose products are more expensive than other stores. The ad is still touching to a certain degree but it doesn’t make me feel the same way the previous ones did anymore.

EU proposes to ban branded cigarettes

This is an article on Advertising Age on the proposal to ban branding on cigarette packaging effectively turning all cigarettes into generic brands: http://adage.com/globalnews/article?article_id=147387

Personally, I think it wouldn’t be worth the trouble and money to move from where we are now straight to banning branded cigarettes.

It is true that packaging is like the “silent salesman”, but the most power it has is to persuade existing (cigarettes) customers to choose one brand over another. It is quite improbable that it will persuade someone who does not smoke into smoking.

I personally agree with the idea of removing cigarettes from display in all shops (mentioned at the end of the article) and believe that it is a highly reasonable move. Once the cigarettes are out of sight, then the next reasonable step is to ban branded cigarettes, as it can foster addiction through brand loyalty. But that should be a while after the first move of removing cigarettes from display has been in effect long enough to show positive results.

And I am wondering: by my putting a picture of cigarettes up on my blog, am I advertising cigarettes as a whole?

Killing Us Softly 3: Advertising’s Image of Women

Killing Us Softly 3: Advertising’s Image of Women. (Click the link to watch the documentary.)

I just saw this documentary and I find it very interesting. It doesn’t only criticize the advertising industry but the whole society around it as well.

The issue of sexism in the media has always been present and seriously discussed. But in this documentary, Jean Kilbourne raises many outstanding points that will make you rethink about your whole society and reconsider whether all your values are simply socially constructed.

This documentary raised a debate between me and two other flatmates. Basically, two of us agree with the documentary but the other disagrees. Among all the points the latter brought up, he mentioned something that startled me and made me see him in a different light. He said, “I don’t cry, because crying is a sign of weakness.” So I asked him what the real reason why crying is perceived as weak. He replied, “Because girls cry.” And therefore, girls are weak. He believes women belong in the kitchen, at home, raising children. He thinks it is justified if companies pay women less just because they are women. He also believes that it is reasonable to use girls displayed in such a way in advertising to sexually attract guys as long as it brings in money or sales.

I have always been aware of sexual biases and stereotypes. But I have always assumed that, even though we all might have unconscious sexist values affected by the media or old values transferred to us from parents/grandparents, this is 2010 and we would all realize that it is unethical, or at least unfair. I never imagined anyone would believe so strongly against equality between genders. But this debate we just had made me realize that there are still people from the new generation who consciously agree with these stereotypes and refuse to accept that all these values or beliefs are socially constructed.

And by the way, that guy is studying to become an advertiser.

And that makes me worry about our society.

I believe, as an advertiser, we carry such power and therefore responsibility over the whole society. We should recognize where the line should be drawn, and always remind ourselves of this power and of the importance of not abusing it.