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Kirt Blattenberger
 Post subject: Check Your Webpage for Hidden Code
Posted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 1:31 pm 
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2003 2:02 pm
Posts: 878
Location: Erie, PA

I've got an interesting story for you that is both surprising and at the same time not surprising. A couple weeks ago, I received an e-mail from someone in Sweden informing me that the website of a company I link to on RF Cafe was triggering his firewall software. He said that although the website appeared legitimate, there was something about it that must not be right.
Knowing for a fact that the company was absolutely reputable, I immediately began an investigation. When I went to the company's website, the only thing that seemed strange was that its relatively plain homepage took longer to load than what I expected. My firewall software was not overly concerned about it. So, I took a look at the HTML code. What I found was shocking.
At the bottom of the code, just prior to the closing </html> tag, was about 1,000 lines of code that contained hyperlinks to hundreds of po rn and pharmaceutical websites! I called the company and spoke to the CEO. Understandably, he suspected that I was a loon, but I managed to convince him to look at the HTML code. I could hear his jaw hit the desk once he saw what I was seeing.
It turns out that the ISP hosting the company website has been infiltrated with rogue code that was automatically appending that crap to web pages all over the server. I have not heard back from the company since then, but I would not be surprised if some sort of lawsuit is being pursued. Who knows how much business was lost, and possibly company credibility has been damaged, by the situation.
This is not my first experience with such an occurrence. A similar situation occurred a few years ago with another ISP. If you operate a website of any sort, you would be well advised to use the View Source Code option on your browser to verify that your page code has not been hijacked.
Whenever I report on something like this, I always think back on the headline that I posted a couple years ago where a high profile hacker/spammer in Russia was discovered in his apartment with a hammer in his head. Something about that scenario has a macabre appeal to it.

- Kirt Blattenberger :smt024
RF Cafe Progenitor & Webmaster

Posted  11/12/2012
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