My worst nightmare happened last night, and I didn’t even know it until late this morning. I was hacked…

Sequence of events:

June 19th

  • 10pm EST – hacker figured out my email password, logged in, and sent out a mass email to the top 20 people on my contact list (most contacted people), thankfully gmail calculates this list only when you use the web interface in gmail, which I haven’t used in quite some time since I switched to using Apple Most everyone on the top 20 were family or friends. Mysteriously the hacker does not send the mass mail to Sam or Xian, who were both on my top 20 list. The two people who would have known to call me (rather than email me) and tell me to take immediate action.
  • 10:16pm EST – Hacker? tries logging into my blog admin section from this ip unsuccessfully
  • 10:20pm EST – Hacker? successfully logs into my blog admin section from this ip
  • 10:23pm EST – Magically whoever logged in at 10:20 is now logged in under a different ip and figuring out my blogging system
  • 10:29pm EST – Hacker figures out my layout management system and starts adding javascript to my template files, first my tag.liquid file
  • 10:31pm EST – Hacker find my layout.liquid file, the master layout, and adds several javascript lines in there. They cause anyone who visits my site to get forwarded to a nasty porn storm site, and installed some sort of tracking js linked to and crazyegg? Keeps updating the same layout file until almost 10:33pm
  • 10:34pm EST – Still updating the same file, but from a different ip now,, keeps updating the same file until 10:36pm.
  • 10:36pm EST – My mom emailed me that someone had control of my email. Unfortunately the email never got to me, because the hacker also setup my gmail account to forward all my mail to him, and then archive my messages so they bypassed my inbox (I do still have access to them, they went to the gmail archive folder)

June 20th

  • 9:05am EST – Sam calls me and leaves a message as I’m in the shower
  • 9:30am EST – I call Sam back and find out that a customer had contacted him about an email I supposedly sent, an NASTY email
  • 9:22am EST – I log into my gmail and change my password
  • 10:02am EST – Finally I get to spot with my work where I can start investigating. Investigation shows me that the person had logged into my gmail and I believe only sent to the top 20 people, which was later proved true, at this point I just decided to start changing my password everywhere and send out an apology email to the people I believe got this nasty email
  • 11:30am EST – I call my dad to see if he and mom had got the message. He said he was just emailing me to let me know they had.
  • 11:35am EST – Dad calls me back to tell me my website has been hacked too. And its bad. He just held down the power button on his computer to get away from the horrible stuff that came up on his screen
  • 11:43am EST – I fix my layout.liquid file the first time, turns out I left one line from the hacker still in there
  • 11:53am EST – I get back into my website admin and fix the other line in layout.liquid
  • around 1:00pm EST – I’m still not getting any emails, and its really getting to me… Finally figure out in my gmail settings that the hacker set all my mail to be forwarded to a address, where my emails were visible to whole world, and skipping my gmail inbox.
  • 3:38pm EST – I figure out that my tag.liquid file also had a js line in it, so I fix that and thoroughly check the rest of my templates.
  • 3:41pm EST – I find the address in my mephisto logs, track it down to Boston University, and immediately call their network operations center. I talk to one guy, then get forwarded to their network security department and talk to Eric. I explain to Eric who I am and where I’m from, and that our server had been hacked (my blog is on the company server) from an ip address in his network. I started to rattle off the ip address and he stopped me, and said “yeah yeah I know, we got the guy”. I said thanks and hung up.

Moral of the story. Use a good password.

Note:,, and all belong to a company in England called RIPE