Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Gootloader infection cleaned up

Dear blog owner and visitors,

This blog had been infected to serve up Gootloader malware to Google search victims, via a common tactic known as SEO (Search Engine Optimization) poisioning. Your blog was serving up 384 malicious pages. Your blogged served up malware to 0 visitors.

I tried my best to clean up the infection, but I would do the following:

  • Upgrade WordPress to the latest version (one way the attackers might have gained access to your server)
  • Upgrade all WordPress themes to the latest versions (another way the attackers might have gained access to your server)
  • Upgrade all WordPress plugins (another way the attackers might have gained access to your server), and remove any unnecessary plugins.
  • Verify all users are valid (in case the attackers left a backup account, to get back in)
  • Change all passwords (for WordPress accounts, FTP, SSH, database, etc.) and keys. This is probably how the attackers got in, as they are known to brute force weak passwords
  • Run antivirus scans on your server
  • Block these IPs (5.8.18.7 and 89.238.176.151), either in your firewall, .htaccess file, or in your /etc/hosts file, as these are the attackers command and control servers, which send malicious commands for your blog to execute
  • Check cronjobs (both server and WordPress), aka scheduled tasks. This is a common method that an attacker will use to get back in. If you are not sure, what this is, Google it
  • Consider wiping the server completly, as you do not know how deep the infection is. If you decide not to, I recommend installing some security plugins for WordPress, to try and scan for any remaining malicious files. Integrity Checker, WordPress Core Integrity Checker, Sucuri Security,
    and Wordfence Security, all do some level of detection, but not 100% guaranteed
  • Go through the process for Google to recrawl your site, to remove the malcious links (to see what malicious pages there were, Go to Google and search site:your_site.com agreement)
  • Check subdomains, to see if they were infected as well
  • Check file permissions

Gootloader (previously Gootkit) malware has been around since 2014, and is used to initally infect a system, and then sell that access off to other attackers, who then usually deploy additional malware, to include ransomware and banking trojans. By cleaning up your blog, it will make a dent in how they infect victims. PLEASE try to keep it up-to-date and secure, so this does not happen again.

Sincerly,

The Internet Janitor

Below are some links to research/further explaination on Gootloader:

https://news.sophos.com/en-us/2021/03/01/gootloader-expands-its-payload-delivery-options/

https://news.sophos.com/en-us/2021/08/12/gootloaders-mothership-controls-malicious-content/

https://www.richinfante.com/2020/04/12/reverse-engineering-dolly-wordpress-malware

https://blog.sucuri.net/2018/12/clever-seo-spam-injection.html

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New Word: Plattribution

Plattribution [pla-truh-byoo-shuhn] –noun

– The polar opposite of plagiarism; rather than taking credit for someone else’s content, it is the act of attributing original content to someone who did not create it.
– Also, riding on another’s fame to publish content under that person’s name.

– see plattributious, plattributed, platribution

Examples of Use:

Martin Luther King Jr never commented on the loss of thousands in contrast to the death of one. It is a plattributious quote by some internet user.

The plattribution of twitter content to historical characters has become a plague in recent years as the youth have become increasingly disconnected with historical fact.

Sample plattributions:

“I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.” – Martin Luther King, Jr

“People believe anything they read on the internet if it fits their preconceived notions.” -Thomas Jefferson.

 

 

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Writing for Comics Update + Asher Evans

I’ve now been trying to get inZomnia finished for a while (as a 12 issue volume) and I’ve been rolling this other idea around in the back of my head for almost as long. I’m not really putting off inZomnia but I have to admit it is an ambitious first entry into the comics space. This other idea is much simpler and allows me to create a single issue to introduce the world without worrying that later issues might need to revise the first.

Something about the comics industry that I find so strange is that writers don’t usually have the full story mapped out. They might have the current arc fully bulleted (hopefully) but they typically write an issue, it goes to the artist, they write another issue, and so on. Usually this only happens with ongoing series like The Walking Dead, DMZ, The Boys etc, which are three series that have been really disappointing to me lately–I find that any series pushing past 60 issues is just going on too long. But imagine writing a novel where you write the first chapter, polished and complete, ship it off to press and then start writing the second chapter, knowing that you have no ability to revise character interactions, manners of speech, plot devices, etc in previous chapters–those are set in stone. The really minor things are what get me. Since I’ve been writing inZomnia, I’ve revised the first issue script 3 times–and they are very different versions. Perhaps it’s just an issue with having all the characters and story fully mapped–something I’m still working on–but I keep thinking of subtle things that I issue #10 or #11 will have that need a little foreshadowing earlier on. It would be a pity to press those and not have the ability to include that. So, since I’m new to this, I’m not just outlining–I’m going to at least write a prose page for each issue, fully flushing out the details before I go back to revise the actual scripts again.

In the meantime, as advised by my virtual mentor Antony Johnston in his fantastic articles on writing comics, it’s good to step back and work on something else to give your brain time to come back with a fresh perspective.

If you are unfamiliar with Antony’s work, he is currently writing Wasteland and the following articles on his site are required reading for anyone wanting to write comics (or even if you are just into writing anything at all, the first article is for you):

So, as I was saying, I took a little break today and created a 3 act outline for a 1-shot comic called “Asher Evans isn’t Real.” Of course, it’s a 1-shot that sets the stage to grow into an ongoing series or, as I prefer all media to be, a more flushed out and conclusive graphic novel. Asher Evans has a twitter account if you are interested in following the progress of a fictional character living a fictional life within his own fictional world: http://twitter.com/AsherEvans

Next steps with this one-shot are:

  1. Writing a prose summary for the issue
  2. Converting the prose summary into 3×5 cards (using scrivener to create 22 cards that also double as script pages)
  3. Expand those cards into scripted format
  4. Find an artist to do some character sketches
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Writing for Comics: Multi-Plot Levitz Paradigm

Well, I’m still here, more or less.

It’s been a tough year so far in terms of finding writing time–I know everyone makes excuses so I won’t bother to drop them here. On the other hand, I’ve found a good amount of time to think about writing–and specifically think and dream about character and plot development, back-stories, panel layouts and specific sequences within my story, etc… and I’m pretty happy with what’s coming out.

Currently, I’m putting off the actual script writing to spend time developing my Pitch, which includes way more details than would go into a real pitch–it’s mostly a guide for me to organize the characters, tone, audience, plot arcs, issue spines and the like. Eventually, this is what I’ll be showing to an artist who might want to join up with me to produce inZomnia. Yeah, you read it right, I won’t be drawing this graphic novel (most likely). My drawing hand is not at the place I want it to be for the look and feel of this story and I’d really like to work with an artist who has comics experience. Besides, writing comes first and it’s going to take me long enough to get that where I want it.

I do terribly miss having time to myself and anyone out there who has broken into the comics scene with full-time job and a family (and specifically a 2.5 year-old), I welcome your enlightened suggestions.

So, on to a brief diversion wherein I actually talk about the topic of this post:

In The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics, Dennis O’Neil talks about the Levitz Paradigm, which strikes me as a simple way to organize and track multiple plots and their development within a series. Basically, as I understand it, you create a table with plots on the left (rows) and issues on the top (columns). Then you simple write out the plot spines as they develop within the issues, staggering in new plot arcs (be they subplots, major plots or diversions) as others fade away, keeping about 3-4 live plots running at any given time. By the way, I’m quite shocked that Wikipedia doesn’t have an article on the Levitz Paradigm but I’m not going to write a page for it–I’ve got enough procrastination projects.

Since I sadly, did not pursue and English, Literature, Creative Writing or any related degree in college, I hadn’t given much analytical thought to the development of serial TV, comics or other forms of fiction. O’Neil’s book talks a bit about soap operas and how they keep viewers interested and I noticed that many of the TV shows on at any given moment use the same techniques–generally something that looks like the Levitz Paradigm. The core of the idea is that you can end a plot, satisfying the audience with its completion but by having other plot lines flowing unfinished, you keep them interested in whatever comes out next.

Now, I’m really not into long, unending serials. Frankly, I’m a little disappointed with The Walking Dead, which I thought hit its peak of interest a dozen or so issues ago. When I started reading it, I didn’t expect it to go to 80 issues and beyond–and I don’t see any reason they would ever stop (it could go to hundreds of issues). I like stories that end. Endings are dear to me. But I like the idea of using the Levitz Paradigm to help me get through 12 issues (I think) of inZomnia, allowing the plots to trickle into closure toward the end.

It occurred to me today that I could start writing a blog called ‘Code to Comics’ but then I realized that if I spent the time needed to truly blogument the process I’m going through, I wouldn’t have any time to write, which is already a problem. So, I’ll leave that blog title for someone else. Really, take it. I’m going to keep this name just in case I need to experiment with sleep again (fairly likely).

So, I’ll leave you with a simple list of the bedside reading I’ve been enjoying for the past several weeks–and then I’ll get my ass over to writing.

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Comic Book Status + New Desktop

Just wanted to drop a line to say I’m not dead–and though I haven’t been drawing every day, I’ve been doing a little bit. I’m focusing all my spare time now writing the scripts for inZomnia, the Graphic Novel–and I even just created a Facebook page for it:

In the meantime, I was going to write during my lunch break today but I got distracted by David Lanham’s awesome new Steampunk Icon Pack–so I was forced to revamp my GeekTool widgets to work with the feel of the metal desktop wallpaper:

My Latest OSX Desktop

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\m/ I Own a Mere 69 Things (100 Things Challenge) #100TC

So, Lena read this article today about consumerism and ways of keeping your level of home owned crap down to a minimum. Since we moved out of the country 6 months ago and moved back last month, we’ve gone through 2 massive get-rid-of-everything-non-essential purges. Now that we are in a state of living out of two suitcases and two backpacks, I figured this would be a great time to join the 100 Things Challenge and begin tracking our crap.

Here’s my list of personal belongings:

    Essentials

  1. Laptop (macbook pro)
  2. – External hard drives (x6 – 320GB Laptop Drives)
  3. – Laptop Mouse
  4. Phone (samsung vibrant) + charger
  5. – Spare Phone Battery
  6. Wallet (+ contents)
  7. Passport Wallet (+ contents)
  8. Glasses (Prescription)
  9. Juggling balls (4 Jester Footbags)
  10. Backpack (SwissGear IBEX Notbook Pack)
  11. Suitcase
  12. Headphones (BeyerDynamic DT 770 Pro)
  13. Shoes
  14. Socks (7)
  15. Underwear (7)
  16. Pants (Jeans)
  17. Belt
  18. T-Shirt (Jolly Roger)
  19. Wedding ring
  20. Coat
  21. Toothbrush (Sonicare FlexCare)
  22. Razor (Electric)

    Extra Clothes

  23. Hat
  24. Pants (Jeans) + Belt (attached)
  25. Pants (Jeans)
  26. T-Shirt (Grey)
  27. T-Shirt (Black)
  28. T-Shirt (Grey Striped)
  29. T-Shirt (Jolly Roger)
  30. Shirt – Long Sleeve
  31. Shirt – Long Sleeve
  32. Shirt – Long Sleeve
  33. Shirt – Fancy Striped Button-Up
  34. Light Autumn Coat

    Drawing

  35. Pen Tablet (Wacom Intuos4 Medium)
  36. Sakura Pen Set (6)
  37. Staedtler Pen Set (Mars Pigment Liner Set of 4)
  38. Sketchbook (Moleskine – Large)
  39. Drawing Pad (Strathmore)
  40. Pencil Set – Tombow (8)
  41. Eraser (Kneaded x2)
  42. Pencil Sharpener

    Music

  43. Accordion
  44. Chromatic Harmonica (Velvet Voice 48 Hering Professional)

    Expendable Items

  45. Mechanical Pencil
  46. Red Pen
  47. Black Pen
  48. To-Go Ware 3 Tier Steel Lunchbox
  49. LunchBots Uno Stainless Steel Lunch Container
  50. Utility knife
  51. Headphones (for phone)
  52. Business card holder (with cards)
  53. First aid kit
  54. Deck of cards (minature)
  55. Paracord (for knot tying practice)
  56. Blipplace (toy–self assembled microcontroller electronic gadget)
  57. Unassembled Blipplace
  58. USB adapter (Belkin mini 4-port)
  59. USB adapter (Buffalo Squid 4-port)
  60. USB Extension Cable
  61. Cat-5 Cable (short emergency cable)
  62. Macbook Remote

    In Storage (@ Family’s House)

  63. Hand Drum (from honeymoon in Thailand)
  64. Unicycle
  65. Books
  66. Contact Juggling Ball
  67. SmartNav 3
  68. Sketchbook (Moleskine – Small)

    Temporary (getting rid of)

  69. Old iPhone
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TED: William Li – Eat to Starve Cancer

This is absolutely amazing. I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising that the key to fighting just about every deadly disease we know of is probably as simple as eating fresh, tasty foods.

William Li presents a new way to think about treating cancer and other diseases: anti-angiogenesis, preventing the growth of blood vessels that feed a tumor. The crucial first (and best) step: Eating cancer-fighting foods that cut off the supply lines and beat cancer at its own game.

S3BE7PERXQD3

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Cracked: 8 Health Foods That are Bad for Your Health

As always, cracked cracks me up with good old facts.

My favorite bit here:

Vitamin C has been touted as a cure-all for everything from preventing colds to curing cancer. The latter claim was popularized by Linus Pauling and eaten up by people who forgot that he got a Nobel Prize in chemistry and not medicine. The movement was dealt a bit of a setback when he died of cancer in 1994.

Read the full article on Cracked

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TED: Craig Venter Unveils Synthetic Life (Not Science Fiction)

This is freaking awesome. It’s only a matter of time before we have custom house pets, bacteria that cleans air, water and anything else we want, in fact, bacteria that creates just about any chemical element or structure that we want. The possibilities are pretty wild.

The part about watermarks in the DNA is impressive.

Craig Venter and team make a historic announcement: they’ve created the first fully functioning, reproducing cell controlled by synthetic DNA. He explains how they did it and why the achievement marks the beginning of a new era for science.
–TED.com

You also may be interested in Gregory Stock on TED with “To Upgrade is Human”: http://www.ted.com/talks/gregory_stock_to_upgrade_is_human.html

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TED: Jeremy Jackson: How we wrecked the ocean

Disturbing images and information about the state of the oceans and predictions for the future. I hope my daughter can see the ocean as beautiful as I’ve seen it in my life.

In this bracing talk, coral reef ecologist Jeremy Jackson lays out the shocking state of the ocean today: overfished, overheated, polluted, with indicators that things will get much worse. Astonishing photos and stats make the case.

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