I admit that I'm pretty naive about a lot of things on the internet--especially a lot of yucky stuff that I don't even want my brain to know about.
However, I do very much care for the people who read and follow my blog because they have an interest in quiltmaking. I hope my own negative experience will enable others to take steps to protect their blogs too.
We really need to check our stats regularly and see who is visiting us. It is a kind of strange feeling to know anyone can visit us and that most of the time we'll know nothing about who they are or why they visit. That's happened to me recently. I noticed a whole bunch of hits by myhealthscore, many hits from websites that were mostly numbers, and from"filmhill" and "pregolom" that just didn't make sense. (Do *not* click on those websites in your stats because some of them will download more nasty stuff into your computer!) I went searching for blog posts about them. What has happened is that "Broken Control" is stealing our content so that when someone searches for us or for something we've written about, the Broken Control link comes up near the top of search engines. When visiting the Broken Control website, the reader is asked to download what turns out to be malware (it doesn't have to be downloaded; at least, so far, it's a choice) and links the reader to the stolen content. Of course it is illegal, but it's still happening.
Here's a post on someone else's blog where you can read more.
You can search for a stolen post by putting the name of your blog [a colon] and the name of a post in a search engine--or just search for the name of your blog. When you get a link that includes "Broken Control", you'll have found the theft.
Once we get them to respond to our [courteous] e-mails, we need to check to see if content was really removed (apparently they remove some older content anyway) and then we need to change our passwords (although apparently they didn't need our passwords to steal our content).
While my heart goes out to anyone whose quilt is stolen (it happened to me at a quilt show years ago and the quilt miraculously showed up six months later at the shop where I was teaching), it seems even creepier that someone would steal our content and perpetrate on our readers.
Update: It took Broken Controller alias firstname.lastname@example.org alias M. B. Julien, Director, Evershark about three hours to remove any content that I could find in the Google search engine.
Please, as someone else has commented, refrain from clicking on suspicious sites on your stats page--that's a good way to download things you do not want to see, malware, etc. We want our friends to stay safe.
Update Two: To help us all prevent or at least deter stolen blog posts, here is a post from Susan at Between Naps on the Porch with more information on how to protect our blogs.
Need to finish the outside of this plume. (Yes, I was stopped in the middle, but notice the needle is down so the quilt will not shift.)
I'm linking to Esther's WOW [WIPs on Wednesday] and Freshly Pieced.
Please feel free to share with your friends and bloggers about stolen content so they can protect their blogs too.