You may have noticed that the site has been down for a few days. The sad truth is that while I was passing the gravy with my family on Thanksgiving day, some evil hacker broke into my site (well, actually the site of my web counter service) and spewed malware all over it. Then, while I was stuffing myself with stuffing, the Blogger robots that roam the cyberterrain looking for spam blog latched onto my lovely little site and completely locked it down. And THEN, if that wasn't horrible enough, while I was doing the dance of "Oh no, I couldn't possibly...okay maybe one more piece of pie", Google robots zeroed in and slammed it with a "this site will kill your computer" tag. So in short, they completely quarantined my poor little blog, and not even I could get in to do anything about it.
So for the last several days, I've just been stuck. I emailed Blogger and requested a review, and an appeal, and peppered the help forum with pleas. And then I waited. All in all, it took exactly one week to get it back. And despite what you read on a lot of the help forums, the Blogger/Google people were really helpful during that time (special thanks to nitecruzer, who must have been going insane from the 16 forum messages that I sent going helphelphelphelpHELP!). Anyway, they were able to track the problem back to my web counter and remove the code for me. Then I checked everything else to make sure I was okay and requested a review so that Google would pronounce me safe once again. And now we're back in business (albeit with a few changes...you'll notice that we're now employing the hateful squiggly word verification for comments. I know, I know, I hate it too, but it cuts down on a lot of spam robots leaving potentially harmful messages, so it is the price that we must pay for cyber safety).
And because I can now attest first hand at how scary and frustrating and annoying it is to have your blog hacked, (I swear, dear hacker, that if we ever meet in a dark alley, I will cheerfully peel the flesh from your bones and then dance on your bloody carcass while I laugh) I am providing a quick overview of things that I found helpful. This, of course, only applies to Blogger blogs since that I what I run, but I'm sure there's a similar process for Wordpress.
If the Blogger Spambots shut you down:
1) Request a review from the link on your dashboard.
2) Sign up for the appeal websheet
3) Give them two business days from when you signed up on the appeal sheet, and then post a concise and polite post in the "Something's Broken" help forum, stating the problem and when you requested a review and appeal.
If Google tags you with a "visit and die!" warning (thus scaring away all of your faithful readers, to boot):
1) Check to see what Google found on Webmaster Tools
2) Fix the problem by having your site checked at Norton Safe Web, StopBadWare Clearinghouse, Unmask Parasites, and Dasient.
3) Search your source code for hidden nasties. The step-by-step instructions at How to remove "This site may harm your computer" are fabulous.
4) Request Google to review your site again to make sure you got everything.
Anyway, long story short: We're all clean and back in business. I'm safe, you're safe, and all the quirkilicious content is safe. Thanks for sticking with me while I was down.