On 2013 03 19 I noticed that I could not access the home page of Fathers for Life. Every time I tried, a 403 error resulted.
It has been a few years since I last encountered a 403 error. Therefore it took some time to determine what a probable cause of the error was and what needed to be done to alleviate it. During the interval that took I discovered, by accident, two other web pages that produced 403 errors when attempting to access them.
I determined that the file permissions had been changed to prevent anyone from accessing the files.
When checking the web space at the host server, I found a fairly large number of of files whose file permissions had been changed to prohibit accessing them. The vast majority of them were graphics files, but about a dozen were files of web pages.
The representative of the host server suggested that the file permission changes were due to accident, random chance, but I don't agree. It appears to be no accident that most of the files involved pages that contained criticisms of feminism, such as articles by Erin Pizzey, founder of the modern battered-women shelter movement, and one web page by Louise Malenfant, containing an article published in 2001 in the Canadian National Post, on the re-union of and subsequent acrimony and strife between Joni Mitchell and her long-lost daughter.
Moreover, all of the file permissions that had been changed now contained an identical code.
It is not easy to accept that the file-permission changes happened by accident.
The website of Fathers for Life contains close to 2000 files. It took me about one hour to check all of their file permissions and to make corrections where required.
Judging from traffic trends for some of the web pages that were affected (some of those happened to be in the top-ten most popular pages at the site), the file permission changes were made 2013 03 15, while I did not discover the file-permission change for the home page until about noon on the 16th.
I speculate that if it was a hacker who made the changes, that the changes were made to most of the files some time ago already, but that the home page of the website was changed last to tweak someone's nose.
It is clear from the traffic statistics for the website that the file-permission changes had a detrimental effect on daily traffic volumes and that the effect has not yet worn off.
Back to attack main page (as of now there are no other reports)
|Posted 2013 03 19|