Yearly updates

Today I paid a bit more attention to the fact that my sidebar on my blog seemed to have disappeared. When I went to look for it, I discovered that my sidebar had in fact been hijacked by a link injection evil-thing. This possibly explains random junk mail about Google Adword accounts (which I don’t have) and the fact that one or two domains seemed to have refused to accept my email address recently.

And then I noticed that it is more than a year since my last “yearly update” – so it is probably a timely reminder that I should either maintain my websites or shut them down. And if I maintain them, I should install updates and patches to the software running the sites.

So tonight I upgraded WordPress and deleted random other things and generally overhauled the code on my site.

It also gave me food for thought as to what I want to do with my web presence and what level of control I want to have over it. I have resisted the idea of Facebook / MySpace social networking versions of web-presence because of the lack of control and the “model of the world” implicit in them. At the same time, I have started to use open source tools in preference to hand-coding web sites, because my coding is aspirational rather than secure these days. But even though the code in open source tools like WordPress and Moodle is way way way better than mine would be, it is much more worthwhile to hack because of the number of potential targets for any one exploit.

Anyhow – the lesson learned today is to upgrade regularly. And to keep in touch with what the codebase is doing. And to have a bit more curiosity about apparently random things like the fact that my email was blacklisted by a few domains and other non-random but unsolicited junkmail. And to make sure that legacy stuff is removed from my website. And to keep backups of material. All pretty basic.

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