David Airey.com hacked

hacked off

As many of you know, I left for vacation last month. In hindsight, I should’ve kept this information private.

On the day I left, a hacker logged into my webhost support site and asked for the details to transfer the www.davidairey.com domain.

Ordinarily, this wouldn’t have allowed them to steal my domain, but they must also have had access to my Gmail account, from where they could verify the transfer. The passwords were different, and it’s one of those things I’d love to know how it was done.

At the time of writing, I’m using www.davidairey.co.uk for my website, and will continue to do so whilst I initiate court proceedings.

In the meantime, please bear with me as there are many internal site links that lead to the old .com address, and almost all my blog post images are unavailable. I’m working on it, and hope to have everything back to how it was in the very near future.

Should you wish to send me an email, I’m temporarily using d.airey at gmail.com, until further notice (with a brand new password). To those of you who emailed my old davidairey.com address (within the past month), I’m very sorry, but they no longer exist. I sincerely hope you didn’t spend too long writing your email.

Can you help?

If possible, I’d greatly appreciate you helping me to spread the word of my move. Also, and I don’t like to ask, but if any of you have a link to my blog on your site, it’d be very kind if you were to change the .com to .co.uk.

www.davidairey.com is in the hands of a hacker.

www.davidairey.co.uk is my new online home.

Vacations. Great, aren’t they?

Here’s a tip, remember to regularly update your email account passwords. Any passwords for that matter. As soon as I know what else to look out for I’ll be sure to say.

For those of you subscribed to my site via email or RSS, no need to change anything. You’ll still be receiving regular updates.

I hope all’s well.


Update: 22 December 2007
All the internal images and links have been updated, but if you see something that looks odd, or doesn’t work properly, please do let me know.


131 responses

  1. Hey my friend!

    I’ve been thinking about this for the past few days. I mean, the domain is going to be totally useless to the person who has done this.

    Have you had any response from GoDaddy yet?

  2. Hi Armen,

    Thanks again for offering your help with this.

    GoDaddy can’t do anything until they receive notice from the WIPO (who work on disputed domain names, among many other things).

    I’ve contacted the WIPO but have yet to hear back. So until then, my domain can be transferred around as much as the hacker likes.

  3. Hello,

    I think they should have done a brute force attack against your Gmail account. Always use complicated and long password with numbers and special characters.
    Hope that you will resolve your problem!

  4. Glad to see you made it back, from vacation and being hacked—here’s to hanging on to old domains and backing up your blog!

    I sense very little white-hot laser-focused hatred in this post. Impressive restraint.

  5. A good reason to use an external service like FeedBurner it seems, as at least RSS readers could continue to read you new site.

    Hope you manage to get the domain sorted soon :)

  6. Arrg! That is so awful. Hopefully you will be vindicated and get your domain back.

    A long time ago I accidentally let my name domain name expire. At the time, I didn’t really mind and I thought I’d just buy it back when I wanted to do something with it.

    Now someone has actually taken that domain and put up a bunch of stolen syndicated content of mine on it, so it actually shows up very high for searches for my name. I just find it so incredibly rude and I can’t imagine how it is making them any money. If I could stand face to face with the person who set this up, I’d like to think I’d stab them in the eye with a fork.

  7. David
    What a nightmare. Sorry to hear about this. I can’t believe it. So have you also lost control og your old Gmail account?
    I’m sure people will say something of secure passwords and all that, but the fact of the matter is you were just plain unlucky (99% of passwords are ‘insecure’). I just wish it hadn’t happened to you. If the guy who did it lives anywhere near me, I’ll pay him a visit ;)

    Do you have copies of the images on your hard drive? If not, perhaps there are people who saved your post (with images) offline?

    Well, if there’s anything I can do–anything–just shout.

    Good luck.

  8. I hear ya on the security issues…

    I had my computers stolen a few months back and ALL my accounts were set to auto login with keychain access.

    I had to invent a new (LONGER) password and change 30 some website accounts as well as have my bank address changed and a new CC number reissued.

    You’re lucky they didn’t do a LOT more damage.

    Do you know who did it? I assume so since you’re filing.

  9. Some pointers to what I would consider doing…

    1. Make davidairey.co.uk as your primary domain for good. Forget about davidairey.com, it could take days or maybe weeks? Thinking about your Google juice here.

    2. Write an SQL query to re-write any references in the blog database to davidairey.com posts to davidairey.co.uk, I can help you with this.

    3. When you have davidairey.com back, re-direct it to davidairey.co.uk.

    4a. Then you can either duplicate content (titles only) under davidairey.com and install redirection plugin that will re-direct any incoming external links to davidairey.co.uk. see post below.

    How to move your WordPress blog and keep the traffic flowing.

    4b. Or you can use Apache Mod Rewrite to do the same thing. Depending on your setup with hosting and DNS. Again I can help you with this.


  10. David – So glad to hear you are back from vacation and really sorry to hear this happened to you. Still shaking my head wondering why anyone would want to do this to your site.

    I’ll change your link ASAP.

  11. Sorry to hear about your troubles David people have been asking all week.


    I hope everything works out, I had a similar issue moving my forum over from one domain to the other. I used a htaccess file with a 301 re-direct and managed to move most value over in under 9 days but lost pagerank. When you get your old domain back it shouldn’t take long to move all link value back. It’s a horrible thing to happen and I feel for you.

    Best of luck, hope it doesn’t spoil you break too much.


  12. First, I hope he didn’t get the required-but-never-shown emails from your database.

    Second, the page the guy set up has google ad words on it… certainly google can be used to track down the offender… it’s impossible to hide from a money trail online.

  13. I’m really sorry to hear this news,
    brute force on gmail, i think not
    maybe the cracker stole the password from your browser
    or there’s a key logger on your pc.

    but hey, have a wonderful Christmas dave,
    u seems to handle this problem really well


  14. Sorry to hear about this David. It really sucks. I had my blog hacked a month ago and I know what a pain it can be. The hacker that got to my blog took it easy on me in comparison to your hacker. Looks like you have some good advice here throughout the comments.

  15. Wow! I knew something was going on, just didn’t know what. I had been visiting davidairey.com the past few days and getting the parked page. I was hoping you didn’t pack up shop on us without saying goodbye! :)

    Sucks that you got hacked. I’ve been hacked once on an old host, but it was just a static site…nothing like what you’ve got here, so I can only imagine what you’re going through.

    I’ll mention the issue in my next blog post. Good luck David.

  16. I was looking around and wondering what happened about your site until I reached the 9rules design notes about your whereabout.

    It’s really a terrible news that hackers just came and stole the domain, that’s just wrong. I am sure you will be able to get that name back sooner or later, and I actually admired how you handle this situation.

    Best wishes David.

  17. Not a great way to come back from vacation. I hope that you didn’t lose any of your great content.

    These kinds of incidents sadden me – I like to think that the majority of people are on the up and up, but it is the few that can really drag us down.

    I will start working through my posts to ensure that I redirect any links I had to your old blog. I don’t want those that try to get ahead by nefarious means to be successful. I hope this issue is resolved for you quickly.

  18. woah, that ain’t cool. Hope you get news from WIPO soon.
    I changed the link in the comment section on my blogs to point to the co.uk address (hey you left quite a lot of comments on swr hehe)

    Take care buddy, if you need anything or if I can help just lemme know

  19. Sorry to here about this David. Good luck with getting control of your domain back.
    I’ve changed any links to point to your new site.

  20. David, so glad you’re back with us and so sorry to learn what a total hassle this has been and will continue to be for you! Thanks for what you’ve shared so the rest of us can learn from what happened here.


  21. Sorry to hear about the trouble David, I hope you are still able to enjoy Christmas. Presumeably all data is intact and it’s only a matter of getting your domain name re-instated? Has there been any negative knock-on effects with clients?

  22. David:

    My blog was recently hacked, as well. I tried to sign on and got the WordPress installation page. My site would not come up, either.

    When I called Blue Host, they told me that there is one file left behind by WordPress when you install it that must be deleted in order to avoid the problem. Without deleting that file (install.php, I believe it was), your site is open and vulnerable. I don’t know if that is how the culprit got to your site, but it was a wake-up call for me.

    Fortunately, Blue Host was able to restore my site via their backup. I rolled back a couple of days and lost one post. However, since I had learned from Chris Pierson on Piersonified to always subscribe to your own feed to see how your posts look, I had the text and was able to restore it, as well. So, overall, nothing was lost aside from my sanity for the few minutes of panic I experienced while waiting for Blue Host to answer and figure out the problem.

    As you said, “no one died,” but considering how much time and effort we put into our blogs, it is still upsetting.

  23. It would be great if someone created a comprehensive guide to preventing this. I’ve changed my passwords and made them even longer, I would hate for this to happen to me too.

  24. I am not a designer but have been a fan of your site for months now. I was wondering what happened because I kept checking the site…and nothing. Between this and google, you have had a you-know-what of a year. But you have a great site and are a great writer—and designer. All of us fans will be rooting for you. I am re-doing my blogs but will change the URL soon.

  25. Hi David, was a bit late seeing your post, what a nightmare. Have just written a quick post on my blog re-directing people to your .co.uk domain. Hope you get it sorted soon

  26. David – All the best with the court proceedings, Im glad to see you are taking this one to the higher powers. Im sure all of your existing readers will get you from Google search if they are mystified.


  27. David, so sorry this has happened to you. I read about your situation on Thomas – Technical Blogger’s site and it really enrages me. On the other hand, I’m so glad to see the wonderful community of bloggers you have who are putting out the word for you and supporting you during this time. Fellow bloggers are really amazing, aren’t they. Please do keep us posted as to any more info during this process and continue to let us know if there is anything we can do to help.

  28. David, Vivien and I noticed the actual change over last week. Up until then I think everything was ok. We were emailing each other back and for, “OMG! What happened to David’s site??!” I thought about emailing the site that your domain was redirected to, but decided it probably wouldn’t do any good. We were so worried! I’m glad you’re back and starting to get this straightened out. If you don’t post for a bit because of all this hassle, we totally understand.

    I’ll write a little update on my blog to let people know about this new address and comb through my links and rewrite them to the .co.uk. You don’t need to feel bad about asking us to do that! I’m glad to see you haven’t lost many (if any!) subscribers because of this and I hope it didn’t make your return home too terrible.

    Whatever more I can do to help, let me know!

  29. David, I’m so glad that you’re back and slowly getting things under control. Good Luck with it. Like Lauren said, we were very worried. I’ve sent you an email to your old address, thinking that they might hacked your .htaccess file, and only later with Paul and Johno realized that it’s your domain and email that got hacked. What a shame and pain. How could they do that? Do you at least know those people who hacked your accounts?

    I’ll be changing all my links to your new blog and write a post about it soon.
    Let us know if there’s anything else we can do – if you say need a proof for GoDaddy or the court that you’re indeed the original owner of davidairey.com, we definitely can sign and vouch for it. GOOD LUCK! And keep us posted, pls.

  30. Sorry to hear about this David. Not fun at all.

    As far as image links, links within your blog pointing to your blog (now old), I would suggest the Find and Replace Plugin for WordPress. This thing’s pretty slick: it replaces any string in your database you specify with a new string. In other words, you could replace the beginning a URL with a new one. I used it when I moved my personal blog’s location a few months in. Thought it might help your current situation.


  31. I feel so sorry for you David.. Hope you manage to get this matter settle nice + steady..
    btw, welcome back ;)

    to the hacker : Hey you!!! Go to hell man!!

  32. Oh no what an awful thing to return home to!! You must be a stressed as anything, I know I would be.

    Good that you are telling yourself not to worry about it too much, which must surely be easier said than done.

    Best of luck with getting everything back normal in the quickest time.

  33. Sounds like you are using ie and have a trojan that has made your antivirus believe there is no infections. If you are using avg or norton then go and try pctools. Even the free version if this finds a trojan it will probably also find a file which has every password on your system including this domain as well if you save passwords into ie?

  34. this really sucks, I thought you just forgot to renew your domain, but this is really mad …

    I am sending you an email with an idea of a guest post for you on my site in case you wish to use that as way to let people know where they can find you now

  35. I hope they cut off the little bastard’s fingers…. I can’t stand people who do crap like that!
    Sorry for sounding over the edge… I hope everything works out in your favor, David!

  36. First off,

    Thanks so much to everyone who has left a comment here! It really does mean a lot to see you all being positive about the situation, and just goes to show was a great group of people there is in the blog world.

    Let me respond to you personally once I get a little more time on my hands, as it’s the least you deserve.

    I’ll be keeping you updated on what I learn so that you can hopefully avoid a similar scenario of domain name theft. I’ll also give a little update on my fantastic time away in India.

    Again, a big thank you for your support and offers of help. It’s very touching, in a non-soppy way.

  37. Sorry to hear about your site being hacked – I am impressed though with your positive attitude and in maintaining good karma.

    I have always found it more difficult to move a .com domain for clients than a .co.uk. I seem to recall having to fax details on headed paper and providing proof of identity by copying passport or driving licence details.

    I will change all of my passwords regularly now – hard though it may be to appreciate but your misfortune in this instance will help a lot of people avoid the same problem. Your subscribers list will grow because of this though – I wouldn’t have found your blog without this happening, now you will be on my blogroll.

    David, you are already well on the way to recovering from a tragic situation and will be all the more stronger for it – this is your clouds silver lining.

  38. That really sucks – I can’t believe people actually DO this kind of thing, but clearly they do. The shady bastards! I’m glad I heard about it somewhere else so I can continue reading your site :-)

    Fingers crossed you get it all back very soon. I’m inspired by your positive attitude. Hope you had a great vacation, and have a lovely Christmas xx

  39. So sorry to hear this, David. What a rotten, senseless act of vandalism and such a major nuisance for you! :(

    Please accept my sincerest wishes for a speedy blog recovery(!) and I’m glad that you’re a balanced enough person to deal with this so well. :)

    Notwithstanding all the additional effort and hassle you now have to deal with, I wanted to wish you and yours a wonderful Christmas and a very joyful and prosperous, hacker-free New Year. :)

  40. ps. If anyone is using wordpress and wants to do what i did then they can update their wordpress database thus.

    For posts it would be something very similar to

    UPDATE wp_posts SET post_content = replace(post_content,’davidairey.com’,’davidairey.co.uk’);

    for comments

    UPDATE wp_comments SET comment_author_url = replace( comment_author_url, ‘davidairey.com’, ‘davidairey.co.uk’ ) ;


  41. David am so sorry to hear of this! I went to your usual address and i see its parked at Sedo. Its great to hear you have responded so quickly and are (nearly) up and running with the .co.uk domain.

    P.S. we missed you while you were away, its not exactly what you want to return to though! Just concentrate on having a great christmas :-)

  42. Adam,

    Thanks very much. I’m so glad I was using Feedburner for RSS, otherwise it would’ve taken so much longer letting my readers know of the theft.


    Your sentiments are much appreciated, although I’d prefer you leave the fork on the table. ;)

    Hi Johno,

    Nope, I’ve not lost my Gmail account, and can still access it like before. It’s sad to think that someone was reading the emails I was sending and receiving.

    Thankfully, I still have all my content on the web server, and it’s just a matter of sifting through all my posts, removing the http://www.davidairey.com from the internal links, and re-linking my images (which I moved from a subdomain to the root).

    I think I know the whereabouts of the hacker (at least the city), and will prepare a more in-depth analysis soon. Here’s hoping that’ll prevent similar damage happening to others, but, as you say, I’ve been unlucky.


    Not done blogging by a long shot. I enjoy the communication too much, and of course it certainly helps with business.


    I hope you have a fantastic Christmas too. Thanks!


    It’s a hassle, for sure, but I can recover. Traffic comes and traffic goes. What’s important are those people, such as you, who I’ve met along the way.


    Thanks so much for helping spread the word. Very kind of you mate. Here’s to a merry xmas for you too.


    I don’t know who did it, although I have an email address, and an IP address (for all that’s worth). Sorry to hear about your recent loss.


    Thanks for those suggestions. Sounds like a plan. Leave things with me and I’ll give you a shout soon.


    That’s great you can change your site link for me. I really appreciate it.


    I’d be lying if I said this didn’t affect my break, but what’s done is done, and I still had a great time abroad. Thanks for dropping in.

    James T.,

    Likewise, I sincerely hope that my address book was left untouched. I’m sure it’d be possible to track the offender down, but with who’s help, and after how long? We shall see.


    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas too, thanks.


    It was a shame to see your blog being hacked, but thankfully there was no major damage done. Keep up the great work.


    This has given me the kick up the backside needed in order to move full steam ahead with my logo design-specific blog. Details to be posted here in future. Hope you’ve been well lately.


    I was in a few net cafes in India, but as I mentioned above, the hacker contacted my web host on the day of my departure, so they had been waiting for the right moment to strike.

    Hi Deron,

    Leaving without a goodbye? Not me buddy. Thanks for all the help you’re providing. Very much appreciated.

    Matt, Hafiz,

    Thanks for commenting, and for your thoughts. It’s clear that things could have been a lot worse in this instance, and it won’t be long before every webpage on my site is functioning fully. My traffic is another thing, but I can get that back too, in time.

    Artur, Thomas,

    I saw those posts you created on your blogs, and it’s such a help! Thanks for your consideration, and if there’s anything I can do in return, don’t hesitate to ask.


    That’s great of you to offer your help, and fantastic that you’ve changed the links in your blog. I hope things are going well with SMW and FF.


    This is all pretty new to me, so I can’t say how long it’ll take. The hacker says a couple of days if I pay up, but there’s not much chance of that happening. How have you been?


    You’re a star. Thanks for changing the links for me.


    It was a great holiday thanks, with a few ups and downs, but I’ll be sure to show you some photos in an upcoming blog post.


    Again, thanks for your previous email. It was a big comfort to see you and others keeping an eye on my website whilst I was away.


    Kind of you to say so. I appreciate it.


    No negative effects as yet, although I can’t be sure how many client emails I’ve missed out on, as my business email accounts are no longer running. Sadly, I’ll be missing out on over 2,000 unique visits per day. I’ll climb back up though.

    Pony, Mitch,

    My spirits are high, and it’s good of you both to stop by.

    Hopeful Spirit,

    Yep, subscribing to your own feed is certainly a good idea, and thanks for sharing your own story with us here.


    I’ll see what I can do about the guide. I can’t promise anything comprehensive, but I’ll cover everything that I find out.


    That’s great that you’ve been reading my blog for a while now. I’m glad there’s some info here that keeps you coming back!


    Thanks for the blog post! Things will work out fine, with the help of people like you.

    Patricia, Paul,

    Good of you to say so, and I hope you both have a great festive period.


    Fellow bloggers are indeed amazing, and I’m constantly surprised, in a good way, of the kind nature of people around me.


    Very kind of you to help! It would’ve been a different story if my subscriber base went as well as the traffic, so I’m raising a glass to the use of FeedBurner. My posting frequency might suffer for a while, but I know you understand.


    I’ve mentioned in this comment that I have an email address, name (possibly fictitious) and IP address (physical location) for the hacker. The location is quite broad, but who knows if it’ll help any. I’m not hopeful, but we’ll see what the courts can do to help.

    Sorry that I didn’t respond to the previous email you sent. I wonder how many people are waiting for my reply to their emails? Not too many I hope.


    Thank you kindly. That’s good of you to take the time.


    Great tip buddy. I’ll check it out and see what I can do. I’m placing my image folder in the root, rather than in a subdomain, so all I need to do is delete the subdomain part, leaving /images/filename.jpg. Do give me a shout if you’re still thinking about a guest post, and sorry if you’ve been waiting for me to respond to an email you sent.


    It’s good to be back mate. Thanks!


    Why thank you, and I’m sure I can recover things to what they were before. I’ll have learnt a few more important pointers on the way too.


    Interesting observation. I don’t use IE for passwords, but thanks for leaving your take.


    Thankfully I’ll not be needing the way-back machine, but it’s good of you to suggest it, and thanks very much for your help.


    I also thought I forgot to renew my domain. That would’ve been unforgiveable! Thanks for the email.


    No need whatsoever to apologise. I appreciate your sentiments, if a little more extreme than mine. ;)

    Adrian, Harris,

    Cheers for the comments. India was excellent, and I’ll show some photos soon.


    That’s fantastic I’ll be on your blogroll. An honour to be sure, and thanks for checking out a few other posts here on my little blog. Sorry there’s a lack of images at present. I’m working on that.


    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas too, and I’m very glad you’re continuing to read my blog.


    All those wishes are extended right back at you, and thank you for taking the time to comment.


    Great of you to provide that tutorial here. It seems (as I knew all along) that you’re a very knowledgeable bunch of friends to have.


    I wonder what relationship the hacker has with Sedo? There are a lot of questions I have, and I’ll document what answers I find soon enough. Likewise, I wish you a very happy new year!

    Thanks everyone!

  43. Hi David, I actually just got a pingback notification from your blog regarding a post you made back in May 2007. I thought it was kind of odd so I followed the link, saw the old post, and couldn’t figure out why I would get a pingback on such an old post. Even the most recent comment was only from September 2007. Anyway, I hit the home link and saw this post. Wow, this is terrible news. I’ll try and go through my old posts and find where I referenced your old domain and update it. Good luck.

  44. Hi Bret,

    That’s odd that you received that pingback. The only thing I can think of is that the updates I’m making to old blog posts caused it.

    Very kind of you to help out, and I hope you’ve been keeping well lately. All the best.

  45. Hi David,
    So sorry for your predicament – and right after vacation and amongst the holiday season none the less! I’d suggest logging into your GoDaddy account and changing the Nameservers there – forgive me if you already said this wasn’t a possibility.

    For what it is worth, I found your DNS info and here’s what came up.

    Domains by Proxy, Inc.

    Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)
    Domain Name: DAVIDAIREY.COM

    Domain servers in listed order:

    If go daddy doesn’t work then I’d suggest going straight to http://www.sedo.com/about/contact.php3?tracked=&partnerid=&language=us and hastling them a bit.

    Best of luck!

  46. You show amazing restraint. I belong to a black hat forum and that URL would be google bowled so fast the hacker wouldn’t know what hit him (or her).
    I admire your calm – James

  47. Thanks very much James.

    Do you think that the longer the domain is used in this way, the more damage will be done to the traffic I built up? I’m not quite sure what you mean by Google bowled.

  48. What a disgusting thing to do! I’m glad your back in business though and are ready to give us your daily share of posts again!

    I’ve also read the comments and help from all over blogsphere – good to see you have so many supporters!

    Wish you A Happy Yuletide all the way from Norway :-)

  49. You now KNOW you are a CELEBRITY when this happens..

    David, The only thing I can think of is that someone you know or lent your passwords to has been busy. Most such security breaches usually start at your backyard. Stop using conventions and patterns, in creating your passwords. Dont write them down. Dont trust your shadow with the passwords, forget, another person.

    To me, this looks like more of malice and less of hacking etc. Why would anyone want your domain? What will they get out of it? What would happen, if you have to start all over again? The only outcome is that your SEO rank will come down. Perhaps you are looking at a ellow blogger?
    Metaphorically this is more of a kidnap process than a hack process. Someone is very jealous of you.

    Logically you may not rerieve ur old domain, as the perp may choose to do nothing.

    Fatewise you were supposed to pledge alliance with “.co.uk” and this is how it happened.. [the karma call]

    So how did the India trip go? What news from the orient? If you need help, just ask…

  50. Just got to know about this. I have to agree with Ian Stewart. You sound so cool. I mean I would be raging mad if this happened to me. Have you found out who’s behind this?

    Updated the link from my blog with the new url.

  51. Hi David,

    This is terrible news. I am so sad to hear this. I do hope you can get it back though sadly it sounds difficult. All the best, I’m rooting for you mate.


  52. You are resilient and you will emerged this better and stronger. That, I’m pretty certain. Looking at this unfortunate episode positively, David, you know you have the friendship and support from many bloggers and readers.

    Take care and I wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy 2008.

  53. Lude, crude and ruuuude are domain hackers, squatters and thieves. :( Sorry for your troubles David – and just before Christmas too. Sounds like you’re taking the right steps to get things resolved though. I hope it works out swiftly. I don’t understand why someone would want to yank a domain that is someone’s actual name. What good is it to them other than holding it for ransom? ;) It’s not like they can turn around and build a credible following with it… everyone will know they’re a fraud.

  54. Just got around to reading my mails and got a shock about your domain being stolen! I have written a post on it so that my readers can still find you. You have a really cool head on you (and a pretty strong heart!)

    Wish you and yours a very blessed Christmas and a fantastic year ahead.

  55. Renny,

    Wishing you a very happy Christmas too, and I hope the weather is fine in Norway.


    Thanks for stopping by. I didn’t lend my passwords to anyone, but there are a few things I’ve learnt not to do since this episode. I’ll detail them in an upcoming blog post.

    You’re right that it’s more of a kidnapping, as the hacker is asking for money in return for my domain. They couldn’t use it for anything much, except the little traffic that it generates. Still, people will soon leave the site when they realise it’s got nothing to do with the search result.

    Perhaps it was fate leading me to the .co.uk ;)

    India was superb by the way, and I’ll let you know more about it soon.


    That’s great you updated your link, thanks very much! I don’t know who’s behind it, but I’ve been communicating with them via email. Sadly, I don’t think it’s going very far.


    Your thoughts are appreciated buddy. I hope all’s well with you and the family.


    Thanks for the kind compliment. The way I see it, things could always be a lot worse. Look at the bigger picture, I still have a roof over my head, food on the table, and a loving family. That’s so much more than most people.


    Yep, pretty rude for sure, and not the best Christmas present. Still, how amazing to read all these fantastic comments!


    You know, I’ve already put into practice some steps to prevent this happening again, so you’re right about emerging stronger. Whether it’ll actually happen again is another question, but it won’t get past me so easy next time.

    Merry Christmas to you too, and I hope all’s well in Singapore.


    Thanks so much for writing a blog post about this! That’s very kind of you to take the time. Here’s to an excellent 2008 for you too.


    Likewise, thank you for spending some time changing your site. It’s a great help.

    India is a beautiful country, and I’d like to return to see more at some point in the future.

  56. Hi David,

    I just read your message in MyBlogLog and saw what they did to you with your blog.

    It is not a pleasant experience but I am quite optimistic about your case I believe that very soon your domain will be brought back to you.

    Merry Christmas!

  57. Hi David. What a malicious little miscreant! I commend you on your aplomb, and I hope you’ll be successful in retrieving your domain. Hopefully you had a nice vacation, at least!

    Merry Christmas!

  58. I found out the awful news from Creative Curio and rushed here to lend my support to you during the legal proceedings and in what must be a stressful situation. This is awful what has happened to you, and around the holidays! Sheesh. I hope that everything turns out in your favor and karma bites whoever did this in the bum. You really seem to be taking it with a clear head, which is commendable. Happy holidays, Merry Christmas and best wishes to you in the New Year.

  59. Awful to hear you having to go through all this, thank you for the update, I will pass along the message. I hope you’ll get to resolve things as soon as possible, hopefully your vacation away was well enjoyed. All the best for the holidays, cheers!

  60. David,

    I’m sorry to hear (and surprised) that someone would want to hack a blog. In this case yours.

    Have you been using wireless connections lately and have you been logging into your accounts ? Because wireless connections are unsafe unless you log in through HTTPS.

    I’m just really surprised …..

  61. Sorry to hear about it. I checked your site a while ago and thought I was getting the URI wrong (I am bad speller). Hope you get this thing sorted out. Happy Holidays!

  62. Hi Daniel,

    Sorry that your comment was caught in Akismet. I’ve released it, and thank you for your advice.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have an account with GoDaddy, so I’m unable to change the nameservers. The domain name is not in my hands to do anything with, but that’s a good idea to contact SEDO Parking. My guess is that they’ll say the same thing as GoDaddy, that they can’t do anything until a court case has been initiated, but it’s worth a shot.


    Thanks my friend. I read your message on MyBlogLog too, and you’re right, your comment was caught by my spam filter. I hope you have a great Christmas too.


    Thank you for passing on the message, and all the very best for the festive period.


    Great of you to publish that blog post about my situation. Very much appreciated.


    Just last night I discovered how the hacker gained access to my email account. I’m going to publish an update later today, detailing the whole process.


    Your help is very welcomed, so thank you for informing your readers about the fall of davidairey.com. Happy holidays to you too!


    That’s great buddy. I wish you a very nice Christmas holiday too.

  63. What a shame! Given that the domain was in your name and not a generic one that would be of more use to another, it seems to someone who’s done this out of malice rather than profit.

    Anyway, wish you a Merry Xmas and a Wonderous New Year! Glad to see your blog up and running again.

  64. David.,

    Man, that’s rough to come back home to. I’m also curious how he wrangled your email info so will be looking forward to reading all about it.

    And like others, I’ll be doing what I can to point readers to your new url. A nice url btw.

  65. Shantanu,

    This cloud certainly has a silver lining, due to all the fantastic comments and words of encouragement I’ve been receiving.

    Merry Xmas and a wonderous new year to you too!


    I just read your blog post on Designers Who Blog. Thanks so much! If you check my most recent post, you’ll read my story about how the hacker gained access to my email account.

    If you use GMail, I highly recommend you read it ASAP. It was a wake-up call alright.

  66. Hi David I’m new here so please ‘scuse me

    I read you blog post about your gmail account getting hacked, after immediately checking my own account I took a look over your website, being a fellow graphic designer and still unsure if I should go freelance.

    I clicked on the link for your Logo design questionnaire and noticed the footers still have the .com address. Don’t want you to lose any business.

  67. I think your readers should send money to help with legal fees?

    As bad as this sounds I would but my daughter is fighting cancer right now so I am low on cash.

    I HATE thieves!!
    I am glad that you aren’t giving into their money request.

    Also they probably can’t help because they are busy with terrorism but have you tried contacting the FBI. If the JERK is from the USA maybe they can help or give advice?

  68. Hi Iain,

    Good of you to remind me about my logo questionnaire, which I’ve just updated.

    I’m guessing there were no filters in your GMail account, which is good, but as for your question on whether to go freelance or not, don’t let this put you off. I think you’d be making a bold move, and one you’ll most likely not regret.

    Still, some people prefer a regular pay cheque, and more stability than self-employment. It’s whatever you’re more comfortable with.

    Merry xmas to you too!

  69. One other thought is asking Google to help with this since it was your email through them that was exploited? They may say tough luck but maybe they would try to help?

  70. Also I sent you an email.
    If you could look for an email with ratz along with other stuff in the name so it doesn’t get marked as junk?

  71. What a pain – I really feel for you :(

    Hopefully everything works out to where you can retrieve the domain name form this guy – I’m glad to see you chose not to pay him, that would just encourage him to do it again – although I’m sure it is tempting to have your business back up & running sooner rather than later.

    I posted about your situtation [ David Airey.com HACKED! : http://www.azakers.com/david-aireycom-hacked.php ] on my new blog (old one wiped out for a whole different reason heh)

    Hope it helps ‘get the word out’ – Best of luck mate!

  72. Sad to read such a vulnerability and having to pay for it dearly. I am moving to live.com or such addresses, and GMail is the culprit coz it has been hacked earlier too.

    David, I am no expert, but I can tell you this:
    You’d be better off using .co.uk
    You’d have to toil for several days before you get back the domain, by which time most of the search traffic will be gone.
    Also, paying 1.5k$ without any guarantees is a big ask. In the history of cyber-squatting, you’d see that people like Tom Cruise have lost the case, and the domain. Things just dont work out well.
    And who knows, if you wait some more, maybe he’d give it to you for $100. I’d say you should be smart about it, keep your anger away, handle it professionally and get the site up quickly.
    Your biz is more important than some a**hole hacker who begs for money.

    Or, you could try the hard way, lose more money and time, and still not get the domain. I’m saying so because I’ve read several cyber-squatting cases. Granted, this guy’s no big fish, but a handful nonetheless.

    I’m telling you this because I’m sorry about this, and I’d probably abandon my site because i’d go crazy. You’ve been better off, and this is a site I read regularly.

    In the end, its you call to make, and hope what I’ve said here doesn’t overstep the ‘line’.

  73. AzAkers,

    Many thanks for picking up on the story. I left a message with you, letting you know of the GMail security issue I reported on today.


    I sent you an email as I haven’t received one from you.

  74. @Pop: Oops, that was a slip of my tongue. Yes, as I recall in Tom Cruise’s case, the domain was snapped up before he even knew it.

    Then, I must say, David, you will probably get the domain back, but at $1.5k, after losing all SERPs(it drops quickly once bots hit 404), it just is not worth. Your community, including myself will link to your new home, and SERPs will return sooner or later, which would be the case even if you bought back .com

  75. David, this is beyond belief, and everyones fear that has a domain which identifies them and becomes part of their life. I agree that investing $1,500 to recover something that was stolen from you is almost insane, but your stance to to pay off this lowlife is commendable. If you do decide to go forward, i would like to contribute to kicking his…

    Cheers for a great holiday, hope the rest of your vacation was outstanding


  76. Your ordeal is nothing short of insane Kafkaesque proportions where transferring a domain is as easy as a spoofed email (which we all know has all kinds of holes) and getting justice is a never-ending bureacracy that takes the thieves side.

    I’ve been outraged more than once at the ineptitude of the internet’s governing body regarding a clear lack of principles that allows domain scammers and squatters to prosper while hard-working professionals earning an honest living get the fruits of their labor snatched away. I hope justice is served and you walk away with a net gain in publicity. I’ve always been paranoid about using my gmail for sensitive stuff but now I’m more so. But it’s all a hairy mess once you pick an email as your main address because EVERYTHING links to that address.

    Good luck!

  77. I’m so sorry for getting hacked.
    I have no knowledge on how to go about fixing that, but I say that you should take him out and then get some money from him for stealing your site and losing all that traffic!

    Take him out!
    He shouldn’t be on the net for doing $%*& like that!

    (oh, and somethings funky with your GMail security post… It’s showing that I’m logged in as you, but I’m not, and thus I can’t leave comments. weird…)

  78. David,

    FYI: I was reading your post and went to make a comment when I saw that I was logged in as you. I had to “log out” as you and then make my comment.

    By the way, I had a similar situation where another web site designer stole every word of content on my web site and posted it in another design. Every single word, down to the articles were lifted and copyright claimed by the New Zealand web development company. My investigation into the situation revealed that I would have to pay a US attorney $3,000 USD to send a cease and desist letter. UGH!

    My sympathies to you. Taking legal action overseas is not pretty… however, a domain name is a LOT different than page content.

    Do keep us informed of the situation via your blog!

  79. I feel that what ‘s happened to you was horrible, but I truly admire you when you said this and I quote:

    “I see no point in getting bent out of shape about this. What’s done is done.

    At least no-one died.”

    words of a man with a good heart. I wish you more success.

    Regards from Holland.

    PS. Never ever announce on your website that you will be on vacation, that’s what these thieves are waiting for, happened to a friend of mine before too.

  80. Thanks everyone, for the continued comments.

    It meant a lot to read that you’d follow my blog no matter what the address, though it’s been great that I’ve restored the domain at no cost except time (and a few SEO hiccups).

    I hope you’re all well.

  81. Sorry about that David.. i sort of know what it feels like as a similar act was initiated for a domain we owned, but this time – it was done by a domain registrar!!!… they figured the importance of the domain, and acquired it after we had officially purchased from their site. We even have the bills and receipts of purchase to prove this fraud!

  82. Hi David,
    I came across this post while searching for similar incidences of stolen domains. I’m glad you’ve had your domain returned.

    Now I’m in the same dilemma.. 2 days ago, to my horror, my sister & I, received an email each that ALL of our domains parked at Godaddy have changed ownership to the same registrant! 2 accounts loosing all of our domains to the same person at the same time.. It can’t be a coincidence!

    Our accounts were hacked & the hacker [whom we have never heard of till now] now owns ALL of our 100+ domains!! I have contacted Godaddy but I’m getting the auto replies & answers etc.. The longer this drags on, he would’ve sold all of our domains!

    I’d appreciate your advice and if you could point me to someone whom I can contact regarding this theft and to expedite the reversion as soon as possible.

    Thank you so much & Regards,

  83. Hello Anita, as far as I remember, once a domain is transferred within GoDaddy, it cannot be moved again for at least one month. This is a measure to prevent what you’re worried about. When I was going through this situation, I also had to wait for those email replies. It wasn’t easy, I’m sure you know that.

    Sorry I can’t be of more help. I got your email, too.

  84. Dear David,
    On 28/11/10 someone hacked into my gmail account (from Nigeria) and sent emails to some of my contacts informing them that I mugged in London where my cash and credits cards were stolen and requested funds to pay the hotel, subsequently Gmail notified me of suspicious activities frozed my account, I was able to reactivate the account using a new password…problem is that I have lost all my contacts, old emails, sent emails etc, and I am unable to contact Gmail/Google on my predicament.
    Do you have an email address or telephone number for gmail?
    Best regards,

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