SmartHouse is set to call in a Sydney based security Company who specialise in detecting the IP address of hackers. The move follows the detection of changes to code and the accessing of a proprietary 4Square Media content engine by unknown individuals. We have also identified one of the journalists who gave information to Media Watch in an effort to discredit SmartHouse.
Early last month Indian based web development Company FullStop alerted 4Square Media in an email that changes were being made to the code and that the site was being accessed from outside.
During the past 48 hours 4SQM has been able to ascertain that the intruders entered the site and changed existing stories replacing text and in some cases images with new content taken from various web sites around the world. We have also been able to identify a former ACP journalist who over a period of time supplied Media Watch with links that they claimed were plagiarised stories.
When the intruders penetrated the SmartHouse content engine site they selectively accessed old stories dating back to as far as 2004. This was done because we use a unique story code that is linked with various search capabilities including Google.
This code that is generated as soon as a new story is created stays with that content for the whole period that the story is posted to a 4Square Media web site.
If the intruders had simply generated a new story the generation of this story would have shown up instantly in the management console. Instead they chose to replace old text with new text to prevent the illegal access being identified. This also limited our internal search capability as the original content was deleted and new content provided.
It also meant that while the content was live on the site the new headline and content was not registered to the search engine because the association with the unique code was for the original
In an effort to identify the intruder 4SQM is set to engage the services of a Company who are able to run penetration testing & hacking analysis. The Company will be able to test a multitude of technologies, applications and people who have accessed the site.
The Company has some of the best specialists in the business around web application testing as well as external and internal penetration testing. However one of the problems we face is that if the intruder has operated from an environment where random IP addresses are created such as a business or Internet cafe it will be extremely hard to identity the intruder.
Since SmartHouse Magazine was founded in 2003 and since our web site went live four years ago we have used licensed content from a multitude of International publishers. Some of these licences are still current and others have been discontinued.
Content we have licensed in the past has come from What Hi Fi Sound and Vision, Stuff in the UK, Electronic House and CE Pro in the USA, Future Publishing Magazines Home Cinema Choice, Hi Fi Choice as well as several news wire services. We also have contracts with VNU for content from sites like The Inquirer, as well as a direct relationship with several other web sites in Japan as well as Computer Daily News in Australia.
To be accused of plagiarising stories in the way that Media Watch outlined is akin to robbing a store, and then with a huge name plaque standing outside that store for the police to arrive.