You know how it is when you do a little research on a subject and then all of a sudden all your friends see you as an expert?
It happens to me all the time—why, I don’t know. Just one of those amusing little foibles of human nature, I guess.
BONNIE: Yup. (examines fingernails) I just installed two PLUGINS on my WEBSITE.
CARPOOL MOM: You have a website?
BONNIE: (nonchalantly) Oh, it’s nothing. Really.
CARPOOL MOM: That reminds me! Did you see Oprah today?
BONNIE: Um, no. But I did take a look at her website’s SOURCE CODE and did you know she actually uses TABLES for FORMATTING? Ha! I don’t know who her designer is, but—
CARPOOL MOM: (frowning) I don’t remember Oprah doing any shows on designer table coverings.
Yes, I have quite a geeky reputation amongst my friends. And I get tons of requests to help people with their websites, too. TONS.
BONNIE: Let me do your website for you! Please, please, please?
FRIEND: I, uh, oh, I don’t know…
BONNIE: But I’m ever so cheap! In fact, I’m free! A free website! Just for you!
Being a webmaster is an important responsibility, as you might imagine, especially if you’re doing it for a friend. So I frequently check my friend’s site just to make sure all is hunky dory. And on Monday morning—yowza!
Her site was trashed. Completely unreadable. She had been hacked!
Of course, I handled this crisis as calmly and authoritatively as any level-headed webmaster would.
BONNIE: (running around the living room, arms flapping) We were hacked! We were HACKED! WE… WERE… HACKED!
I searched through all the files and in a few of them found strange snippets of code that did not belong—code I’d never seen before—with phrases like “ERROR_REPORTING” and “base64_encode”.
And when I finally figured out how to translate all this base64_encode stuff, I discovered it contained a URL! A URL that pointed to… A ROMANIAN WEBSITE.
BONNIE: (running around the living room, arms flapping) We were hacked by ROMANIANS! We were HACKED BY ROMANIANS! WE WERE… HACKED… BY ROMANIANS!
What the Romanians wanted, I don’t know, but they really messed up the site. And how they got into the files in the first place, I don’t know, either, but it took me some time to find all the little bits of code they added. At one point I just gave up and uploaded one of my backups. Now the site loads perfectly.
And of course, all my friends are dying to hear about this online adventure.
BONNIE: (sniffs modestly) Yup. Spent most the day cleaning up some website files. HACKERS, you know.
SWIM TEAM MOM: Huh?
BONNIE: It was nothing, really. Just one of my websites. Got HACKED. By ROMANIANS.
SWIM TEAM MOM: Romanians? Say, didn’t Nadia Comaneci marry an American gymnast?
Yup. That foible of human nature thing—you gotta love it.