Malware and More

My dearest readers: I want to apologize to anyone who experienced problems over the weekend with their  personal computers due to a security attack on Kosher on a Budget.

We still haven’t been able to determine at this point whether the attack was by a bot or a person with nefarious intent. The important thing is that we have removed the malware and have made KOAB safe again.

For those of you who tried to visit KOAB last night, but instead found that the site had been shut down, I want to explain what has been going on.

Late on Thursday night, I got a comment from a reader that she had a warning pop-up when she tried to click through to Totsy from my site. I checked my Google webmaster tools, and there were no alerts on my account. I contacted my host and asked them to scan the server and no problems were found.

Then on Friday afternoon, I heard from two readers who got malware warnings when they visited KOAB. I immediately contacted my host again, who saw no signs of any problems and in fact, suggested I disregard the warnings. Not content with that answer, I checked again with Google webmaster tools, which is supposed to immediately notify website owners of any compromises in their sites. There were ZERO warnings.

I consulted with my tech support guy, who ran a scan and found that the site was clean. One of the two people who contacted me about the warning message actually followed up that it had gone away and everything was functioning as normal.

A few minutes before I logged off for Shabbat, I double-checked Google webmaster tools – and my site was still being reported as clean.

Saturday night, when I logged into my computer after Shabbat, I had an email from a reader informing me that he got a malware warning that evening. There was a similar message from a reader on Facebook. I headed straight to Google webmaster tools – which was then reporting malware errors.

Getting that warning from Google set off a chain reaction of several hours of efforts on my part to re-secure Kosher on a Budget.

First, I let readers know via Facebook what was going on, while simultaneously contacting my host and having them shut down my site entirely. Then I contacted my tech support person, who was able to scan and identify the source of the malware.

Several readers (thank you!) offered their technical assistance and I was able to go back to my tech guy with more requests. In addition to deleting the affected file, he completely replaced my word press and my theme. My blog is basically brand new at that point.

I also changed every single password I have to super duper complicated ones that even I’m not sure I’ll remember!

Next, we ran two system-wide scans, to make sure that there were no more pops for malware. And finally, I went back to Google webmaster tools and requested that they rescan my site and remove the malware warning.

That took several hours overnight to process, but finally, Kosher on a Budget received a clean bill of health.

Status of the latest badware review for this site: A review for this site has finished. The site was found clean. The badware warnings from web search are being removed. Please note that it can take some time for this change to propagate.

Going forward, I will continue to take ALL necessary steps to ensure that KOAB is safe.

For those of you that may have been affected by this problem, my dear friend Susie from the Daily Cheapskate blog also got affected, and she was able to clear the malware quite quickly from her computer. She posted directions for how she did this on the KOAB Facebook wall.

I really appreciate everyone’s help and support throughout this ordeal. And I really apologize to any of my readers who have been affected or even just confused by these happenings over the last couple of days.

Please feel free to email me at kosheronabudget @ gmail . com if you have any further questions. I will do my best to get back to you right away.

Now let’s get back to saving money and finding great deals!