Q: WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED?
On December 3rd, the site began experiencing unexplained performance problems. After no likely causes were found, we began mitigating the problem by increasing server capacity. As the server upgrades seemed to reduce problems, we initially attributed the problems to increased or unusual traffic. Soon after, we discovered something more sinister. Hackers had indeed broken into the site. While the entirety of their nefarious mission may never be known, we do believe that they were trying to increase the search engine ranking (“black hat SEO”) of less than legitimate businesses such as online pharmacies with reputations for shipping fake medicine. After some analysis and consulting a computer security expert (a “white hat” hacker), we decided that the then-current software was too vulnerable to keep. While repairs to the old software were perhaps possible, the likelihood of a future breach on the old system remained too high.
Q: SO WHAT DID YOU DO? AND, WHAT’S WITH ALL THESE BUGS?
On or about December 7th (the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack), we fought back. We had a secret weapon up our sleeve. We had been building a replacement software solution intended to be launched months from now. So, we pressed it into service early. Of course, pushing new software into service early does have consequences. As you have likely noticed, we are still ironing out various improvements and bugfixes. We are also rebuilding and changing several other technical aspects behind the scenes. We have an entire team working day and night.
Q: WAS ANY OF MY DATA COMPROMISED?
There is a possibility that user data stored at Ain’t It Cool has been compromised. While we have no definitive evidence that Ain’t It Cool’s databases have been downloaded by hackers, we wish to warn all users that unknown hackers may have accessed email addresses, IP addresses and passwords of users.
Much more: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/47763