I was hacked! Someone brute-forced their way into an account and did something that took the entire site down.
I had reports of a high number of failed log-in attempts, but hadn’t made it a priority to look into. So they finally got through before I looked into it.
It’s really pathetic that someone would go to all that effort to get into a site that is basically dormant and hasn’t seen an new post in months. But they use bots to do it, so they don’t care.
Usually, it is done to gain some kind of advantage in website rankings. Google and other search engines look to see how many other sites mention (link to) a site and boost the rank accordingly. So they like to hack sites to put fake links in to them to make it look like there is a lot of buzz about their page.
They also use links in comments to do the same thing. I have all comments held for approval, so they don’t show up. I cleared out several hundred spam comments yesterday.
So I got the site back up and running. They couldn’t really do much to it, but found a way to make it look like it was offline. I’ve changed passwords on every account and the one they got into no longer has any privileges. I can see what logins they try to use, so I know what they are trying. The obvious ones are gone. Let them fish.
And for what it’s worth, this page is so little used, if it becomes a problem, it will just vanish.