The Guardian Liberty Voice (GLV) prides itself on being Boldy Inclusive and in that spirit we feel there is no reason to hide the fact that on Saturday, our ad servers were subject to a malicious malware attack, which meant we went down, but we are not out. The attack, which occurred on February 8th, affected 218 out of 5,817 pages that were tested by Google’s automatic bots.
Chrome and Firefox users were blocked from entering the site (they could proceed as long as they clicked past the warning and accepted the risks) although Internet Explorer users were still able to access Guardian Liberty Voice with minimal risk. Both Guardian Liberty Voice writers and editors were encouraged to continue submitting and editing news stories through Internet Explorer as the website did not provide a security risk. It was only the status that needed to be cleared in order for the browser blocking to be removed.
The attack was focused on MadAds Media and their publishers and, as a result, affected Guardian Liberty Voice, a partner company. Dennis Berscak, a Publisher Relations Associate from MadAds Media was prompt to contact the Guardian Liberty Voice’s founder, DiMarkco Chandler and offer their full support as the GLV is one of their primary publishers. Although the downtime lasted for several hours, the situation was quietly resolved and MadAds Media has taken active steps to guard against such an attack ever reoccurring.
The attack on Guardian Liberty Voice’s ad servers that meant the organisation went down, but not out, came at a highly inopportune time as Sunday February, 9th was scheduled as a certification day for graduating candidates. The candidates had already spent two weeks going through the GLV’s intense two-week free training boot camp to become certified writers. The event also known as “Hell Day,” which the graduating candidates had been busy studying and preparing for, was unfortunately postponed until this weekend. Although access to the website was possible through Internet Explorer, graduating candidates who worked on Mac computers were unable to access the website at all.
Further information on the security breach of MadAds Media’s ad server shows that the malicious code was hosted by an ad server called deocre-medias.org. Fortunately, the problems have been resolved at the Guardian Liberty Voice and the thousands of websites that were affected by the attack on MadAds Media, have all been vindicated. The Washington Post has reported that the malware attack was frighteningly sophisticated and it is unknown who created it in the first place. The attack could be a sign of a bigger digital security problem that goes beyond this single event. Other large industries and websites have also recently been subject to such attacks and it is unlikely that this one will be the last.
Regardless of the cause, Guardian Liberty Voice takes security seriously and is known for being a news organisation committed to the well-being of both our readers and our writers. Our company value of being Boldy Inclusive means that we are dedicated to being completely transparent and bringing you the best information, as it happens. This is why a security breach at the Guardian Liberty Voice may have meant we went down, but we are definitely not out.
By Jonathan Holowka
Guardian Liberty Voice Inner Correspondence
The Washington Post