(Part of this is a repost. The problem it described have been solved, at least until someone finds the next hole in WordPress. I have restored it to keep the record complete.)
Sometime late Sunday night or Monday, I wrote:
My blog is being raped by a spambot. I first noticed about a half an hour ago that some older posts had become inaccessible through search. Then I actually accessed an old post (“Women With Guns”) twice, a few mnutes apart, and saw that the 8 comments there originally had been replaced by one spam comment.
What’s probably happeniing is some sort of SQL attack on the database behind the blog engine.
I don’t recommend commenting until after we can close the hole and restore from a backup.
My rm -fr blunder on Friday proved to be but the entr’acte of a four-day descent into system-administration hell, from which I shall not even yet say I am delivered lest the dread god Finagle and his mad prophet Murphy laugh at my presumption and turn their awful gaze upon me. The aftermath of the spambot rape was actually mere a divertimento, playing as several different unrelated hardware and software snafus delivered a finely orchestrated attack upon my sanity.
Did I say merely my sanity? The consequences actually drew blood, which has done a pretty good job of soaking through the bandage over the laceration on my thumb. I have learned several different lessons which are unlikely to grow dim or doubtful.
1. Do not trust KVM splitters. They are flaky and can interfere with your diagnostic process, especially if you are having boot-time problems.
2. Ubuntu 10.10 is fucked up. I mean really fucked up, as in I have seen it hang during install on four different machines in the last 24 hours (and that was trying two different media). I had to drop back to 10.04 to get anywhere.
3. Ancient optical drives are an insidious horror. They can cause installations to fail in un-obvious ways. I replaced three today. It helped, but didn’t help enough by itself.
And most generally…if you are you one of those people, like me, who tends to never throws away superannuated hardware until it fails catastrophically, recycling old drives and cases and cables through multiple motherboard upgrades…stop now. You’ll feel virtuous and thrifty right up until the day you have a system emergency that snowballs into a major nightmare because some of your fallback hardware is marginal-to-the-point-of-near collapse and more of it is obsolete.
(Memo to self: Both PS/2 trackballs get replaced with USB devices as soon as I can get to MicroCenter. Who knew a brand-new motherboard would refuse to see them on the port?)
I’ve learned my lesson. I bought my way out of this disaster by paying $400 for a shiny new mailserver/webhost/DMZ machine. The machine it’s replacing is going to the recyclers. No parts are going to get saved to be built into Frankenboxes this time.
Now I gotta go wrestle with more consequences. My mail isn’t back up yet. The new machine needs configured.