When Bad Things Happen to Good Web Sites

August 9, 2012
Lisa Henderson

Lisa Henderson is Editor-in-Chief of Applied Clinical Trials and Pharm Exec. She can be reached at lhenderson@mmhgroup.com.

I do not, apparently, have a highly-tuned sixth sense. That little intuition that says “…if you do this, or don’t do this, it’s going to be bad.” This is why I follow advice of people who know more about a topic at hand than I do. For personal decisions, I follow my best friend’s advice: “Don’t do anything that could end up as a really bad headline.”

But then there are the decisions you make based on a lack of information. How about smoking 50 years ago? Before all the bad news came out, did a little voice in someone’s head whisper, “This can’t be good…smoke in your lungs and all.” Or no seat belts in cars? Or skin cancer? Who knew that baby oil and aluminum foil at 15 could mean melanoma at 50?

So this is where I am, literally, today in regard to our blog. When we started our blog in 2008, we used WordPress, as it was the most user-friendly, design-friendly blogging website out there. Much more friendly than our proprietary content management system for our own web site.  But it is publicly accessible, and, therefore, an easy target for unhappy people who send out virus code and make everyone miserable. There we were, happily using WordPress for three years until March 2012 when it was hacked. To us, it looked like someone was posting nonsense in Polish. It was determined through information technology verbage that I don’t understand, that we couldn’t fix the WordPress problem, so the decision was to move our blog postings into our proprietary system and leave WordPress alone.

Which is what we did. Unfortunately, I had no knowledge, or inner monologue that said: “Disable the BLOG TODAY, do it now!! Delete it. Whatever you have to do, make it disappear.” We left it alone. But they don’t call it a virus for nothing. That thing took off like cancer, and now we are paying the price from Google.

So far, as we can determine, if you use Google Chrome, you will be blocked from our appliedclinicaltrialsonline.com website because of the relationship we had to the WordPress blog, whereby Google will message you ”that malicious software may be installed on your computer if you proceed.”

What would you do in the face of that giant whisper? You wouldn’t proceed! It could end up as a bad headline.

We disabled the WordPress blog and we are currently scouring our search engine to eliminate all traces of its memory for any content on the WordPress blog. We have never received any comments, complaints, or feedback from any users that would give us reason to believe the site is dangerous, and we truly do not think you will get malicious software from our website. We have taken the steps to rectify this problem, but since Google, and especially Chrome, are so sensitive to things like this, our site is still being flagged as contaminated. We just have to be patient, and get through this.

In the meantime, if you get blocked you can switch browsers. You can be sure that any blog that is posted on our website is fine. Content on our website is housed it our internal system that is firewall protected.

We thank you for your patience and understanding while we work through this frustrating, but minor setback.

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