[UPDATED] Early versions of WordPress under attack – upgrade to 2.8.4 today!

To all our clients (and anyone else who happens upon this post) who are running the WordPress software on their website: Upgrade now to the latest version 2.8.4. There appears to be a current and ongoing attack against older versions of WordPress. It could be a looooooooooooong weekend for us!

As we read on Mashable:

The warning comes from Lorelle on WordPress after it was discovered that a nasty attack is exploiting security holes in previous versions of the blogging software, creating a new “hidden” Administrator account and getting right down to the database level. These attacks are said to be “growing by the hour”. Lorelle writes:

There are two clues that your WordPress site has been attacked.

There are strange additions to the pretty permalinks, such as example.com/category/post-title/%&(%7B$%7Beval(base64_decode($_SERVER%5BHTTP_REFERER%5D))%7D%7D|.+)&%/. The keywords are “eval” and “base64_decode.”

The second clue is that a “back door” was created by a “hidden” Administrator. Check your site users for “Administrator (2)” or a name you do not recognize. You will probably be unable to access that account.

We are strongly encouraging our clients to upgrade their version of WordPress to make sure you are using the latest version of 2.8.4.  If you don’t know what version you are currently using, login to your WordPress dashboard and if you are running an older version of WordPress, you’ll see a notice at the top that looks like this:

Upgrade to WordPress 2.8.4

Click the “Please update now” link to begin the upgrade process.

For any of you that are using really old versions of WordPress (versions 2.5 and lower) a manual upgrade will need to be done.  Instructions on manually upgrading your WordPress site using FTP can be found in the WordPress Codex here: WordPress Upgrade Extended.  If you need assistance with your manual upgrade – you can contact us for help/support by submitting a ticket in our Help Center.

For anyone who may have already experienced the attack – it’s going to be long Labor Day weekend for you, too!  You will need to export your all your content with the built-in WordPress export, uninstall and reinstall WordPress and re-import the content. It’s a nasty attack that goes all the way into the database, so exporting the database will result in exporting the hacked code too.

In short:  for those who have not yet been affected: upgrade to 2.8.4.  For those who have been, follow the instructions above to fix your site (you can contact us if you are a hosting client of ours)

For those who are already running 2.8.4 – Horray! Enjoy your Labor Day weekend!

[UPDATE] – Check out a great post by the WordPress.Org team on how to keep your WordPress secure – – a stick in time, saves nine (A/K/A/ – always upgrade your WordPress installation with the latest version)

PINKI Server – Critical Hardware Update **Resolved**

This notice is for clients on the PINKI (76.74.236.95) Server only *

Yesterday, 8/23/09, we experienced a sudden (without warning) hard drive failure on the Pinki server. Usually, we get notifications that the hardware is having some sort of issue that we need to look into, which gives us time to diagnose and troubleshoot. This time, however, there were no warnings – it just happened without notice…one minute the drive was functioning, the next minute not. Machines are not infallible – – and web servers are machines, after all. It’s frustrating and scary all at the same time!

We discovered this problem late yesterday afternoon and immediately went to work with our DataCenter (and hardware providers) at ServerBeach and commissioned a new server. The great news is that we do full adn complete backups of all client accounts on a nightly basis and store them on a separate drive for safekeeping. Once the new server was up and running with a new copy of the Operating System – we began the account restore and things are about 99.9% back to normal right now.

We do continue to work on the new server configurations, however your sites are in working order at this time. Some people have reported a few items that are off – – a couple missing posts, template tweaks that are not there anymore, etc. We are currently working on those issues on an individual basis.

Because our own web site was down during this time, as well – – we’ve been providing updates on our Twitter account as much as we possibly could during this outage. If you do not follow us on Twitter – it’s probably a good idea to do so at times like these: http://twitter.com/BlogsAbout

We want to thank everyone for their patience, and for those of you who write and Twittered words of support and encouragement – we are grateful. We realize that times like these are frustrating for everyone – including ourselves. So, thank you for your patience and understanding during this time. PLease know that we continue to work on smaller issues on a case by case basis and are getting through them as quickly as we can.

One thing that we have noticed, for WordPress users – when you go to update a plugin, or update your WordPress installation – WordPress is asking you for your FTP login information. It has never done this before and this is a function of our server configuration that we are working to resolve. In the meantime, you can just input the information as requested – or, there is a work around for individual sites that you can read about in the WordPress Support forums here: http://wordpress.org/support/topic/242686#post-1180641 (RESOLVED)

* – If you do not know what server your account is currently on – you can locate the IP number of your server in the left menu of your CPanel. Compare your IP number with the three I’ve listed above to find out which server your account is currently hosted on. Or, leave a comment on this post and I’ll do my best to help you determine your server assignment. Thanks!

New Billing and Support System

We are very excited to roll out our new billing and support system for our existing clients, and new ones, as well. The really nice thing about it, for us and for you, is that account creation is completely automated with instant activation for all new accounts.

For our existing clients who are used to our old Client Desk ticket system, we now have a new Client Area where you can:

  • Manage your billing and invoices
  • Submit support tickets
  • Directly login to your web hosting Control Panel
  • Join our NEW affiliate program and earn 5% on all payments your referred clients make for the lifetime of their account!
  • Access our knowledge base **Coming Soon**
  • Access our helpful downloadable files to include free blog themes for your WordPress blog **coming soon**
  • Access tutorials and helpful resource links **Coming Soon**

All of our existing clients have been migrated into the new system and you should have recieved an email with your login information for the new client area.  The emails were sent to the email address that you have set up as your contact email in your Control Panel.  If you did not recieve the email or do not know what your login/password is, you can visit the Client Area login page and request a password reminder – – be sure to use the same email address that you provided to us when you initially created your account.

Eventually, we will be cancelling all existing PayPal hosting subscriptions for existing clients, as all billing will be handled via the new system.  We expect this to happen by June 1.

For now, we will continue to use our existing/old Client Desk support ticket system through June 1 to answer your questions about the new system, but as of June 1, 2009 – the old Client Desk support ticket system will redirect to the new system.  If you have questions or need clarification – visit that Client Desk and submit a ticket and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

This new system puts everything you need to manage your hosting account, data/files, billing and support all in one convienent place!  We think you will find it very easy to work with!

WordPress 2.6.5 Security Upgrade

The WordPress team announced a security upgrade to 2.6.5 that fixes an exploit only affects IP-based virtual servers running on Apache 2.x.  Fortuanately, for Blogs About clients, this only affects our clients on only one of our servers.  If you are hosted on our Kiwi server (IP 76.74.159.114), and are running WordPress on your account, you will want to upgrade to WordPress 2.6.5.  Our Kiwi server is running Apache 2.2.9.  ( The IP of the server you are on is listed in your account CPanel, in the left menu – if is 76.74.159.114 – you’re on Kiwi)

The security issue is an XSS exploit discovered by Jeremias Reith that fortunately only affects IP-based virtual servers running on Apache 2.x. If you are interested only in the security fix, copy wp-includes/feed.php and wp-includes/version.php from the 2.6.5 release package.

2.6.5 contains three other small fixes in addition to the XSS fix. The first prevents accidentally saving post meta information to a revision. The second prevents XML-RPC from fetching incorrect post types. The third adds some user ID sanitization during bulk delete requests. For a list of changed files, consult the full changeset between 2.6.3 and 2.6.5.

Get the WordPress 2.6.5 files from the official WordPress site.

Has Your WordPress Blog Been Hacked?

Our client, Anita Campbell from SMBTrendWire wrote in with a valuable resource that I want to share with you. It’s an article written by Aaron Wall at SEOBook.com called WordPress Blog Hacking Checklist. Aaron’s article points out some great pointers and tips on how to find out if your WordPress blog was hacked, and what to do about it if you find out that it was.

This is also a perfect time for me to emphasize how important it is to keep your WordPress software upgraded to the most recent version. Old versions of WordPress are vulnerable for exploitation, simply due to the fact that the older versions have an old code base that is no longer being developed. This means that bugs and/or vulnerabilities that existed in old versions were fixed in the new versions – – so, if you’re using old versions… you’re also using the bugs and vulnerabilities, too!

Take control of your WordPress blog and don’t let his happen to you by upgrading as soon you can after you hear about a new WordPress version release. For those of you keeping up – WordPress 2.6.3 is the most recent version available right now. WordPress 2.7 is due for release on 11/10/08.

I use this handy plugin that allows me to easily, and quickly, upgrade my WordPress blogs from within my WordPress administration panel – – no uploading, no configuring, no messing with the file structure at all: WordPress Automatic Upgrade. Give it a shot – it will make your WordPress experience much more pleasant!