Last night, I got a frantic call from my business partner. He said, “I think we’ve been hacked!” FML, it was 11pm at night, and this was honestly the last thing I wanted to hear.
We manage over 50 sites, so I asked him which one. “All of them!”
Yikes! Now right off the bat, I was dubious, as all of these sites are locked down tight, and there are many levels of redundancy in place. Essentially, when you tried pulling up one of our sites, the page would display for a brief second, before being redirected to a page on x.vindicosuite.com with the page title of ‘Advert’.
But when I loaded the same site in Firefox (which has Adblock Plus installed), it came up just fine. So I went to Google and searched for “x.vindicosuite.com redirect”, and it took me to this post from June 2014, where this person claimed that Sitemeter (a popular analytics script that we’ve been using for close to a decade now) was doing all kinds of dubious things.
So I pulled the Sitemeter code from one site, and it started loading up just fine. Now came the fun part, removing the Sitemeter code from 50+ sites.
Apparently this was a widespread problem, as this morning I saw plenty of people posting about it. It’s hard to say if it was an insolated hack or if this is something more nefarious that Sitemeter’s been doing (it would explain some of the random ads and such that have popped up on our sites that we couldn’t always explain), but in any event they lost our trust last night.
So with that, it’s Adios Sitemeter. It’s been real.