Sept. 25, 2012 - The four-day long national nightmare is over. Chicago News Bench is back, given a clean bill of health by Google this afternoon. Google's Webmaster Tools informed us today that "Google has not detected any malware on this site" and also that "latest badware review" for Chicago News Bench "has finished. The site was found clean. The badware warnings from web search are being removed. Please note that it can take some time for this change to propagate."
It was painful. We first became aware of the malware last Friday morning, and fixing the problem required the deletion of a bunch of old posts. Fortunately, those posts were very old and nobody had visited them in a long, long time anyway - so that was no big loss. A fresh template was installed yesterday just to be doubly certain. We then requested another review from Google and the good news came this afternoon.
The malicious software came to bloggers via Izea Social Media Marketing Company, which unwittingly served it through an ad widget. I love Izea. I've been dealing with them for over three years and they are honest, helpful and pay their ad publishers well. Izea was a victim in all of this, too, and the "badware" that came through Izea originated from something called "admaxstat.com," which was pumping evil code through the servers of a Chicago dedicated server host called SingleHop. (See Google's own statements about malware from Admaxstat and malware from Singlehop.)
For some background about this, check out two items at Izea's own blog: Taking Out Malware Warnings (Sept. 21) and Izea Media Update (Sept. 24).
More later. In the meantime, we're glad to be back.
(Liberals: You can stop laughing now, bwaaaah-hahahahahahaha!)