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Monday, December 13, 2010

Blogger Blog Disappeared for 14 hours Today

I had a scare earlier today when I logged into GMAIL around 7:30am. Google informed me that I had "unusual or suspicious activity on my account". They forced me to change my password and I started checking all of my Google apps.

Was my account hacked?

Nothing suspicious occurred in Gmail.

Nothing unusual in AdSense.

Checking Blogger, I logged in only to see 3 of my blogs completely missing from the list.

Poof! Just like that, they were all gone. Including this site, in fact my most popular one. I checked the url, -- I got a page not found error. I then checked the original blogspot URL -- this time I got an attempt to claim it that just dropped me back to my Blogger Dashboard, empty handed.

At first I was shocked, had my account been compromised and the hacker thought it would be funny to delete blogs? Really, is that the first thing they would do?

Anyways, now the research had to go to the Google Blogger help, which is very difficult to find. I finally made my way to the "Something's Broken" webpage and located this thread.

Apparently this was a known issue although it sounded like it happened the previous night which was offset from my timeline of 7:00am. The instructions were to post your URL of your blogspot original URL and they would clean it up.

A few hours went by and blog was down, nothing from Google's blogger and you mind starts running...did I really just lose the last 4+ years of blogging and the surprising predictable income stream? Really, just like that?

In addition, the whole Gawker Database hack for registered users of their comments feature (details here) didn't help to ease my anxiety. I knew I had not only visited, but also commented at LifeHacker, Gizmodo, and Jalopnik in the past so I had an account.

The question...was my account one of the ones exposed and had I used my throw-away passwords?

First, I checked the handy tool at Slate, yep my account info had been compromised. I tried to log into a Gawker site and couldn't. The only choice was then to reset my password. To really know, the only choice I would have would be to download the database and see since no online tools really allowed you to see the actual password.

Then my mind is really racing, could it really just be a coincidence that the same day that Google has a number of accounts "compromised" and blogs deleted happened to be the day after large numbers of passwords were revealed from Gawker?

By the time I arrived home, my blog had been down for almost a full 12 hours. I rushed over to find a copy of the Gawker database, and searched the files for my email address. I found it and fortunately, was immediately relieved...I did use a throw-away password as I call it, as I often do with random accounts.

Feeling a little more piece of mind and not having to change a few more account passwords, my attention turned back to Blogger. My blog was down now for 13 hours and not a lot of info was coming from Google. Mainly, a "hey, we're making another pass through the list" which didn't exude confidence that I'd be restore soon.

But, after almost 14 three missing blogs were finally restored. I still had to re-point them to my custom domain, but I was able to get them in working order. Obviously a huge relief given what I was possibly facing.

Now that things are back and whole again, I have to laugh about the coincidence with the Gawker Database hack and only wish that Blogger would have been more explicit with details so more people's minds could have been at peace.

Were you caught in the Blogger or Gawker issues? Tell me about it.


Anonymous said...

Ken thank you for your help on getting the horizonal out of my sony it took about 30 second after i the front cover off.