Thursday, January 08, 2009

Stop the presses: SoapBlox not dead!

You'll recall, dear reader, yesterday's madness about the meltdown at SoapBlox, a Web host for a number of progressive blogs, which was hacked by no-one-knows-who. There was much drama, as Paul Preston, SoapBlox's founder and keeper, prematurely declared his enterprise dead -- only to have a raft of contributors cry "Say it ain't so!" and contribute, via blog comments and other electronic means of communications, ways to salvage his servers.

All that may make this seem like less of a story than we originally thought (panicked visions of site files lost forever seemed to be coming true), but today's more sober assessment by Preston strikes your cybertrix as even more troubling than the original fear:

Starting on Tuesday, some of the SoapBlox servers were infiltrated by a currently unknown source for unknown reasons.

SSH access was acquired by the hackers, where they were able to install port scanning scripts on to the machines. SoapBlox servers were then being used to scan other servers across the Internet, looking for vulnerabilities.

The disruption of service was caused by our ISP disconnecting the affected servers when they became aware of the port scanning.
In other words, this was an attempt at a much larger attack, that would have affected far more than the impressive list of lefty blogs hosted by SoapBlox. Had SoapBlox's internet service provider (ISP) not pulled the plug on its service, much of the vast liberal cybersphere could have been infiltrated.

Very creepy.

Is the FBI working on this?

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