No, my blog was not hacked — it was April Fool’s Day!
I wanted something that would top last year when I switched jobs with Jeremy Zawodny at Yahoo. A fake hacking had several advantages:
- It was quick and easy to do.
- I didn’t have to coordinate with anybody in advance.
- It was believable. The Museum of Hoaxes has a list of the top 100 April Fool’s Day hoaxes of all time, and reading through that list, I realized that a prank needs to be believable.
I honestly thought no one would be fooled for long. The French phrase “nous sommes le proprietaire de toi” was deliberately wrong. And I made the SEO shout-outs outlandish enough to tip people off that it was a joke. I even put a hint in my comments:
<!– PR9 since 99. MaDD LoVe to e&o. Peace out. –>
“e&o” would of course be my two lovely cats, Emmy and Oz.
Also, it was, you know, April Fool’s. But a surprising number of people believed it. By the way, I really appreciate all the people who wrote and said “This might be a joke, but just in case, I wanted to let you know…” It’s good to know that so many people will drop me a line if they see issues with the site.
How did I pull off the prank? Well, the credit for the hacked page (and the inspiration) goes to my wife. She rocks. We looked at some Google image search results for [hacked site] and then she just whipped up a great page. Then I did a post or two to lay the groundwork to convince people that the site was acting weird. Having my site get “hacked” was believable, but in practice the latest version of WordPress has been very secure in my experience.
I did take a little care with my .htaccess file:
RedirectMatch 302 ^/$ /blog/index.html
RedirectMatch 302 ^/blog/[^i].+$ /blog/index.html
That makes any page except one starting with an “i” do a 302 redirect to the “hacked” index.html page. The 302 tells search engines that things are temporary and to try back later, so I shouldn’t see any long-term drops in my indexed pages. The directive to redirect everything except stuff starting with “i” is a little sloppy, but it let me redirect all my urls to the index.html page. That way, I could swap /blog/ and /hackedblog/ directories really easily.
As always, if you run a website, it’s a good idea to make backups. That’s a good April Fool’s reminder for us all.