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IIA’s nasty infection

The Irish Internet Association have a weblog at Back on January 30, this had a Technorati rank of 587893, with 21 inbound links from 14 blogs. That’s about what you’d expect — comparable with Chris Horn’s blog, for instance.

However, fast forward to today, and in the intervening 3 months, it seems to have suddenly shot up to 23,322 inbound links from 550 blogs, giving it a Technorati rank of 6,870.

To put that in perspective, that puts it comfortably in the top 3 in the Irish Blogs Technorati Top 100 — beating Damien Mulley‘s 7,859, but just short of Donncha O’Caoimh‘s stellar 3,434 — and ahead of these other gods of the Irish blogosphere:

Pretty impressive ;)

I was curious, so I went investigating. Of those thousands of inbound links, here’s some samples of the most recent, pasted from the Technorati inbound links page:


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The Peninsula’s Edge

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6 days ago in The Peninsula’s Edge by ricsmith510 · Authority: 9

The Incredible Blog

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7 days ago in The Incredible Blog · Authority: 1

Quilters’ Blogs

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TPN :: Martial Arts Explorer

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Take a look at the ‘inbound links’ list — thousands more just like that.

All of the affected blogs have been hacked to deliver these spam links. They run unpatched versions of WordPress vulnerable to a major security hole. On a casual visit, their pages seem fine — but “View Source”, scroll to the bottom, and there are thousands of spam links for drugs, ringtones, cheap credit, etc. on each one, exactly as above, and as described by Kevin Burton in his description of the current epidemic of blog spam.

How did links to the IIA’s blog wind up in this collection?

It’s worth noting that the IIA’s blog does not display the same symptoms — the links aren’t present on their pages.

However, this post provided a good tip as to what has happened. Those infected blog pages point, in turn, to other infected blogs. Somewhere within the IIA’s blog setup, there’s a page inserted by a bad guy, collecting thousands of illicit links from thousands of other infected sites — and sure enough, Irish Web Watcher found it on the IIA’s site — here it is.

Looks like the IIA have a pretty major disinfection job on their hands, and urgently — there’s already a lot of spammy results appearing in the Google index from that site, and the next step after that is usually removal from the index once Google notice it.