Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The software works (or: Shoo Hackers - Don't Bother Me!)

Our journal's new website is almost fully-functional now.  The latest step has been upgrading the website software to the latest version.  The new version has a bunch of features that should improve functionality on the back-end for me (e.g., improved subscription management), and a few features for readers and authors too.  But the main reason the upgrade went from a "I'll do it later" to "I need to do it now" was a security fix.  Our website had been hacked, as had a bunch of other journal websites using this software.

A popular way to hack a site is to make some malicious code in an executable (.exe) file and submit it to the website to run.  Sometimes hackers do this to take over the site to divert visitors to some site for which they receive financial benefit from the number of visitors.  Sometimes hackers are just jerks who like to mess around with other people's websites - it's how they get their kicks.  Weirdos, I know.  Anyway, we got hacked so our website was diverting people to some pseudo-search engine.  Our Jedi server hosts fixed the problem quickly.

Apparently a hacker had figured out a way to upload malicious .exe files to journal websites running Open Journal Systems software.  The software guards against these types of files, but there was a loophole (.exe files could be submitted as cover photo files).  The developers quickly fixed the problem in a new version of the software and urged everyone to upgrade to the new version.  So over the past couple of weeks our server Jedis, the software developers (who always take the time to answer my tech-illiterate questions), and I have figured out the troubleshooting required for any upgrading and we upgraded our software.  It seems to work fine so far.  And it look perrty too.

The fourth and final issue of volume 124 is almost ready for printing.  This will mark the last of Dr. Francis Cook's tenure as CFN's Editor-in-Chief.  Dr. Carolyn Callaghan is rarin' to go with volume 125.  Volume 125 will also mark the official opening of our new website.  We can't really have a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a website so I don't know how we'll celebrate a website "opening", but it will likely involve fewer speeches (yay!) and maybe more drinks (yay!) than a ribbon-cutting ceremony.  If you feel like you want to participate in our celebration, I invite you to visit the journal website and have a drink.  While you might technically be drinking alone while looking at a journal website, it can be a celebration in your mind.

1 comment:

  1. No one has commented?? It's great to see this publication getting online~


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