Apr 062017
 

I don’t know how many of you stopped by Jeff’s Place on April 5th to do a little reading, but depending on when you stopped by, you might have noticed that nothing came up but a white screen.

That’s because somebody decided it would be fun to hack Jeff’s Place and destroy it.

Apparently, somebody (or a malware bot) gained access to a vulnerability in Jeff’s Place and was then able to inject malicious code into the site, and ‘burn it down’.

The hosting service tech person I worked with to fix Jeff’s Place was able to remove the malware, install security software to minimize future hacks, and hopefully secure the site, for a fee.

The good news is, as far as I can tell, that all or most of the content is intact after he finished the cleanup, which is really good news. But if you see something that looks messed up, let me know so I can deal with it.

After the tech got Jeff’s Place back up & running again, he told me I would need to make a big injection of money for various security services they offer going forward to keep everything safe & secure.

As you might imagine, that was not welcome news, and frankly I don’t have the budget to do what the tech suggested. I declined the services he tried to sell me, and told him I’d just have to shut the site down if that was the case.

Jeff’s Place is my hobby blog site, and is not a business, so it wasn’t designed to generate any income flow.

In fact it’s just the opposite, as it costs me an increasing amount of money every year to run it, so getting hacked and having to dig out was sort of the last straw in forcing me to figure out what to do about the future.

I’m facing the choice of closing down Jeff’s Place, or figuring out a way to defray some of the increasing expenses of running the website.

Thanks to reader & website ace, Kay Lu, for suggesting some budget oriented security & backup strategies. That could help keep ongoing costs down, so I’m looking into Kay’s suggestions now.

There’s a couple of approaches to defray some of the increasing expenses of running the website:

  • The first approach, which a number of industry people have suggested to me, is that I should accept advertising in order to support Jeff’s Place. 
  • The second approach is to set up a PayPal donation app on Jeff’s Place to allow readers who feel that they get some enjoyment value from what I write to donate in order to help defray expenses to keep the site up & running.

I’m trying the PayPal donation approach first, because it’s easiest, and I set up a PayPal donation app at the top of the left sidebar for those who desire to help out.

I want to offer a special “Thank you!” to those of you who have already donated through the PayPal donation link I put up, it really helps! You’re awesome!

I set up a page here to acknowledge your support, and as a way of saying “Thank you!”  If there’s anything you’d like me to put next to your name – like your business name – let me know, and I’ll add it for you.

I thought I’d do some National Public Radio style of limited-time fundraising approach for donations. I’m putting a couple of sentences at the bottom of each new post for awhile about donating to support the site through the PayPal app. When enough has come in to offset the expenses, I’ll go ahead and stop the messages in the posts and give the “All clear!” that I’ve reached my goals and things are in good shape.

Hopefully I can get things sorted out and going in the right direction fairly quickly, and your helping me to defray the costs to keep Jeff’s Place up & running is very much appreciated!

I’ve pondered the advertisement suggestion too, but I nixed that one, because I wanted Jeff’s Place to remain free from the distraction of advertisements. I suppose it’s obvious I’m not a businessman!

Sorry this wasn’t a cool audio post, which is what I would have like it to be, but sometimes other stuff interferes, like hackers.

Regardless of what happens, I have immensely enjoyed writing for you and running Jeff’s Place, and I hope I’ve made some positive contribution to your musical & audio world.

Thanks to all of you who have encouraged me with help after this hacking incident, I truly appreciate all the kind words, good advice, and your offers to help with donations! Thank you!

Ok, now back to writing about hifi, and as always, thanks for stopping by, and may the tone be with you!

 Posted by at 8:58 am

  32 Responses to “Hacked! Decision point – is this the end of Jeff’s Place? Updated.”

  1. Hi Jeff,
    I’m happy to donate to keep you running. The information and experience you provide to the community is valued.

    Please don’t shut down.

    Regards,
    Darren Henley

  2. Jeff,

    I would like to think the Jeff’s Place participants – and even the lurkers – would/should be willing to contribute. I do not remember the previous opportunity to do so.

    If we all just looked at the money we saved on WE/Duelund cables, that should be incentive enough! And finding a friendly, non-caustic site chock-full of the info that we like should be another huge reason.

    Count me in as a supporter via PayPal when you get it set up.

    Best,

    JIm

    • Hi Jim,

      Thanks for your kind words and encouragement, I truly appreciate it.

      I really just wanted to keep things as they were, plugging along doing my thing as usual, but dang, somebody very nearly spoiled the whole party!

      I just saw Kay Lu’s note, and I’m really interested to hear what Kay has to say about things, maybe there’s a low cost way to secure things and keep going along without having to do anything different, which is what I would prefer.

      As you know, my blog isn’t a business, I just do it because I love this crazy audio hobby!

      Thanks again, Jim!

      Best,

      Jeff

      • jeff,

        we just don’t want you to go anywhere!

        • Thank you for your encouragement, Everard, I appreciate it. It was a pretty down week after the hacking event, but with your encouragement and the others who have rallied around me, it has really helped, and the result is that I am encouraged to go forward with Jeff’s Place for the foreseeable future.

          Kind regards,

          Jeff

  3. I would definitely be willing to contribute, Jeff!

    Count me in when you’re all setup!

  4. ah man, that stinks about the hacking. sorry you have to deal with it. I’ve recently found your site and have enjoyed it. i look to donate in hopes you’ll stick around. however, it’s understandable if you decide otherwise.

  5. Okay Jeff, first of all thank you so much for conducting and sharing your experiments with us. Just today I wired Duelund 16ga from my Coincident Dynamo amp to my Harbeth P3ESRs – bare wire as instructed – and it is absurdly good. It’s just amazing how much more low level detail and soundstage depth I’m getting compared to $20 Mediabridge 16awg copper cables. Yes, cheap generic cables relative to my other components, I know, but I really didn’t think speaker cables could make as much of a difference as they do. I am extremely thankful to you for introducing me to a product with such a huge impact per dollar spent. My Metrum Musette DAC is so much better than I thought. (I am crossing Audience speaker cables off my wish list.)

    Fwiw Duelund 16ga as speaker wire makes an even bigger difference than the clear improvement I got by changing my Wireworld Luna 7 RCA interconnects to shielded Duelund 20ga (beautifully constructed by Chris Webber).

    Now to business — whoever told you it is “expensive” to secure a WordPress blog is uninformed, or worse. WordPress powers the lion’s share of blogs on the planet for a reason. It is not particularly vulnerable to abuse if you take some fundamental precautions. Much like your computer’s operating system.

    It’s wise to have a few security plugins and at least one backup/recovery plugin running. A bit technical to setup perhaps, but quite free. Throw Cloudflare in front of it — still free — and you’re extremely protected from virtually all automated hacking attempts. Plus you can restore your site content at any time in the event of emergency.

    I offer you my guidance as you wish. (Yes, still free.) I have a decade of experience with WP. The notion that it costs a lot of money to protect this awesome site is truly ridiculous.

    • Hi Kay,

      Thanks so much for your report on the Duelund DCA16GA, that’s fantastic! Be sure to report back on your DCA20GA interconnects too! I’m going to be pulling my shielded DCA20GA IC’s off the Cable Cooker tonight, so I hope to be able to write up a little bit about the ‘cooked’ version over the weekend.

      I definitely want to talk with you about your recommendations for securing my WordPress blog, I’ll send you an email offline.

      If I can secure things for low cost, that’s what I’d like to do, and I really didn’t want to change anything about my blog or to have to ask for donations / advertising to keep it going. It’s just supposed to be for fun, but it definitely lost some of the fun factor after getting hacked. From what you’ve said, it seems like an overeager GoDaddy employee was trying to wring the max $ out of me.

      Email coming your way soon!

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

    • This is awesome news; thank you Kay for offering your assistance! Jeff’s Place is hands down my favorite audio blog and I think it would be tragic if it were closed down.

      If any financial assistance is needed, you can also count me in among those willing to donate Jeff.

      Anthony

      • Thanks so much for your kind words, Anthony!

        I really appreciate your donation to help keep Jeff’s Place up and running! 🙂

        Thank you!

        Kind regards,

        Jeff

  6. Jeff,

    I’m so sorry to hear about the hack. I did notice that your site was not accessible. I am glad that Kay Lu has offered to help and guide in securing this wonderful site. And that you are not throwing in the towel, for your site is so important to me and many others. It is the best audio blog site out there, bar none. Keep us in the loop as to how the security is coming along, and in between, tell us a little about your continuing audio adventure. Doesn’t have to have lots of pictures or paragraphs, just a few sentences to let us know how you’re doing. I’m sure I speak for many of us readers when I say I’ve really enjoyed reading your adventures and do not want to see you gone from the web. I will definitely donate to your cause. Take care.

    • Hi Bobby,

      Thanks so much for the kind words, I really appreciate it, and I really do try hard to make Jeff’s Place a fun place to stop by and visit.

      I’m feeling more hopeful about things now with everyone’s encouragement, advice, and support, than I was after the hacking incident, that’s for sure.

      I’m working on the review of the Lefson resistors from France for Positive Feedback this weekend, so I hope to have some more news to share soon!

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

  7. Hello,
    I’m so sad you’re in trouble. Your blog is so informing, well written and clever asking yourself the good questions (and answer them for the benefit of everyone). I’m so glad you made me discover Duelund DCA cables (and now many of my friends also).

    Hope you can continue and paid a little contribution for that.

    • Thank you so much for the kind words, Drigas, I really appreciate it.

      Thank you too for the donation to help keep Jeff’s Place up and running, that’s awesome!

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

  8. These are sad news Jeff 🙁
    I hope that in spite of the rising costs the good will of your readers will prevail and this place will continue to deliver our daily dose of audiophile inspiration.

    • Thanks for the kind words, Dimitar, appreciated!

      Thank you too for your donation to keep Jeff’s Place up and running, that’s awesome!

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

  9. Jeff,

    I am so sorry to hear about what happened. I have a question that may have been asked in the letters above. ( evidence that i have not read them ) I was wondering if the problem is with using WordPress as a platform. WordPress is super stable and I am sure that they constantly update there security. The problem might lie with the plugin community and the ability to get updates etc. A platform like Squarespace is not ISP independent and might offer additional security protections. Again I am not a web or ISP guy. I would hate to see your site change you provide a great service to the community.

    my .02

    everard

    • Hi Everard,

      Thanks for the kind words, appreciated.

      From what I gather from Kay (and others), WordPress is a pretty solid platform after a few security precautions have been taken.

      It would be a huge chore to switch over to something else, and I’m not sure I’m up to the challenge.

      Hopefully everything will work out ok, and I sure do appreciate all the encouragement!

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

  10. Hi Jeff,
    Please keep the fires burning! Your site is great reading, and it’s part of what makes this hobby/passion so much fun. Now if could just decide on which Mac amp to get!!

    Bruce

    • Hi Bruce,

      Thanks for your kind words, encouragement, and donation Bruce, it really means a lot to me!

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

  11. Hi Jeff.

    I live in the UK. I really like your site, and I would have been most saddened if you had had to close it down.

    I have made a donation. I am sorry it is not very much, but I hope it will help.

    Regards

    Chris . . . .

    • Hi Chris,

      Thank you so much for your encouragement & donation, I truly appreciate both, and with your and others help it looks like Jeff’s Place has a future!

      Thank you! 🙂

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

  12. Jeff,

    You can consider to put jeffplace on Facebook.

    Alan

    • Hi Alan,

      I often put links for my posts out on my Facebook page, but I like WordPress as a blogging format much better than Facebook. I’ve hardened things up from a security perspective, so hopefully that will minimize any hacking events in the future.

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

  13. Hello Jeff,

    I just read your awful news! Of course I have donated some money to support you in to take action to prevent your site to be hacked again. I am a long term read of your site and it is for my very important to read and share your ideas! I almost read your posts on a daily basis and it gives me a lot of inspiration.

    Please go on with you very good work! I am looking forward for your positive answer to all of us that you can solve this hacking issue!

    Greetz,

    Siedy

    • Hi Siedy!

      Thank you for your kindness, because of your and others generosity Jeff’s Place future looks secure for the rest of 2017! Thank you so much!

      This hacking event has caused me to think about a lot of things WordPress-wise, and I have learned a lot of good things about hardening it and making it more secure.

      The silver lining to this dark cloud of hacking is that I have also had some ideas occur to me that I believe will make Jeff’s Place a much more fun place to visit when I implement them.

      I will be working behind the scenes for the remainder of 2017 prototyping & incorporating some new features into Jeff’s Place that I think will be really nice!

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

  14. I gladly contributed Jeff. I only discovered this site a few months ago and look forward to reading your insights. Good luck and don;t hesitate to ask again for more help if you need it!

    Regards,
    Ian Meyers

    • Hi Ian,

      Thank you so much! I really appreciate the encouragement & help to keep Jeff’s Place going and growing!

      If all holds to the plan, I’ve got lots of good things to tell you about for the rest of 2017!

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

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