Important Site Note

I’m aware that Daylight Atheism was unavailable for some time earlier today. I’m looking into the cause with my site host.

In the meantime, is anyone finding that they’re getting mysteriously redirected to a site called b.scorecardresearch.com when trying to connect to Daylight Atheism? Several people have mentioned this to me in e-mail. If you’re seeing this, I think it’s caused by browser-hijacking malware on your computer and isn’t related to the site outage, but I’m not completely certain.

If you’re having this problem, I’d appreciate it if you could run some simple tests and let me know the results. Does it only happen with this site, or does it happen with others? What about if you switch browsers, or use a different computer?

Also, if you’re having this problem, I recommend trying a malware cleaning program like Spybot Search & Destroy or Ad-Aware. If you’re able to download and run either of these and if it resolves the problem, please let me know.

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • Katie M

    My computer’s been acting up lately, so I figured it was a problem on my end. Luckily, I wasn’t being redirected.

  • http://spaninquis.wordpress.com/ Spanish Inquisitor

    One browser tab is trying to get to b.scorecardresearch.com.(it’s just hanging). This tab didn’t. Maybe only one tab at a time?

  • Richard P.

    I highly recommend “Malwarebytes” as well, It will get stuff S&D misses.
    Not that S&D is not a great program, it is. Malwarebytes catches on some things S&D is not designed to get.

  • Richard P.

    also I have had no problems getting on.

    I your looking for a great free antivirus I recommend Avast. I have been using it for years as my main protection and it has been great. I found it much better than avg.

  • toemoss

    It’s doing it on my Mac in Safari and in Firefox, but it only tries to redirect me in Firefox (in Safari, the page just goes completely white after loading everything). Only happens on this site, too.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    Some Googling suggests that you may be able to get rid of the redirect by going here:

    http://www.scorecardresearch.com/OptOut.aspx

    If anyone has success with that link, or by using one of the malware cleaners I recommended, please let us know about it.

  • AnonaMiss

    In Firefox, my page is going completely white, and hanging, but though I didn’t notice it earlier, there is a “Waiting for b.scorecardresearch.com” message in the lower left-hand corner.

    Good luck working all this out.

  • Zietlos

    It is very clearly your site, from what I can see. I’ve got several levels of security on multiple machines, but even my ubuntu computer gets a redirect without prompt. It’s definitely on your end, since viruses that target ubuntu are… well, rarer than users of the OS itself. It is also only on your site where I get a re-direct, and my web browsing is fairly extensive. Often, malware and DDoS attacks are fired together, if it is something malicious…

    I suppose it means your site is now popular enough for targeted attacks… Or maybe some ad got too aggressive (was it yahoo ads that gave computers viruses that one time?)

    My page goes white as well, though it stalls, like the others, trying ineffectively to reach this mysterious and probably trojan-ridden website.

  • TommyP

    I hit the stop loading button so I don’t get redirected. Running Firefox. Hope you get to fix it soon.

  • http://journal.nearbennett.com Rick

    I agree with Zietlos–Ubuntu virii are rare than users.

    However, I too am getting redirected but seriously doubt problems on my end since it only appears to be on your side. My first guess would be that your word press has been hacked and the nefarious code has been added to your java scripts. Something similar happened to my site several months ago, but the evidence wasn’t as obvious as yours is.

  • Andrew G.

    Checking my proxy logs, I actually don’t see any attempts to hit the comScore (scorecardresearch) beacon (which I have blocked in my proxy config :-) associated with Daylight Atheism (though I do see it from dozens of other sites – newspapers, ScienceBlogs, CNN, the BBC, every WordPress blog, Erfworld (via their contextweb.com ads), every Typepad blog (via crwdcntrl.net), etc. etc. ad nauseam.

    comScore is a “we’ll try and analyze as much data as we can grab” kind of company, I guess sites like newspapers and ad servers that want to know as much as possible about their viewers like the kind of data that comScore can probably give them.

  • lpetrich

    I tried this page with OSX Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Google Chrome.
    Firefox and Safari – stuck on redirection
    Opera and Chrome – OK

    I’ve found that I can get this page in FF by going to http://scorecardresearch.com and then to this page.

  • Andrew G.

    Incidentally, I found some tcpdump output I’d collected at the time your site was down – it’s definitely nothing to do with any redirections, the packet trace shows hugely long TCP response times from 67.210.110.241, e.g. >10 seconds to respond to a simple SYN packet. Unfortunately I didn’t save the whole thing; but in case it helps, I’ve pasted all I can recover from terminal scrollback here (my IP is redacted, and I think the timezone is UTC but I’m not 100% sure of that).

  • Staceyjw

    I have been getting redirected to that site- on my PC but not my PDA. IF I click on your page (anywhere, at random) when I open it, it won’t redirect. If I don’t, it starts redirecting right away. I have software that should stop it, but it does not.

  • Archimedez

    I too was being redirected to the “bscorecard” site, though the problem was fixed by using the OptOut link posted above by Ebonmuse.

    My browser is Firefox. I haven’t encountered the bscorecard redirect in association with any other site.

  • Nes

    Seems like it’s likely something ad related. I wasn’t having any problems, until I disabled AdBlockPlus. Once I did that and refreshed the page, I got the redirect (Firefox, WinXP).

    Speaking of which, I should probably have your site whitelisted once this problem is figured out, given how often I lurk.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    It does seem unlikely that this is user-specific malware, if it’s affecting PC, Mac and Linux users. On the other hand, I’ve tried several different browsers and different computers, and I’ve never seen this problem myself. I also don’t see anything suspicious in my site’s own source code.

    The only plugins I have that use Javascript are AddThis and Edit Comments. I’ve disabled both of them. Does that fix the problem for anyone who’s been having it?

    EDIT: This post blames the Technorati javascript, which I was also using. That’s also been disabled. Let me know if the problem is better.

  • Nes

    Seems to be working fine for me with ABP disabled now.

  • Ric

    PZ
    Myers linked to one of your posts. I think you just got Pharyngulated.

  • Ben

    I was getting redirected too, and I ran both S&D and Ad-Aware several days before this post, but I was still getting redirected afterwards. However, checking DA today I didn’t get redirected at all, so I have no idea what the deal is.

  • Jesse

    I went to webpagetest.org and had it test daylightatheism.org with IE7. The test was a fresh load (no cache used) and a repeat load (cached items would be used). The test was repeated 10 times. You can see the results here (run 4 is closest to average): http://www.webpagetest.org/result/100713_527135f5ceee183688b8caa7e793dc83/

    As you can see, Score Card Research did not show up. I think (but I am uncertain) that you fixed the problem when you disabled the JavaScript for Technorati. Perhaps you should re-enable the Technorati stuf and repeat the test to see if Score Card Research shows up again. That should confirm that the Technorati stuff is responsible.

    With that said, you should look at the test results to find ways to optimize your website. If you do optimize it, then that should help to alleviate the problem that Andrew G. pointed out. I can’t promise that it will make the problem utterly go away and never return, but it is worth a shot — plus, the website will be faster anyway, so it wouldn’t be a waste of your time even if it doesn’t work.

    I hope this helps =)

  • John Nernoff

    toemoss: It’s doing it on my Mac in Safari and in Firefox, but it only tries to redirect me in Firefox (in Safari, the page just goes completely white after loading everything). Only happens on this site, too.

    N: I agree. I use a Mac with Safari only and the screen went blank and wasn’t redirected. I also got a warning at a different time that my computer was infected by 47 trojan horses (no galloping sounds tho) and malware (I love humanity). But the Apple rep said this was only an ad and that Macs are not so infected. Perhaps your problem is just with the “server” and not with individual computers (pee-cees).

  • http://www.ceetar.com/optimisticmetsfan Ceetar

    Not having any issues, but I _have_ seen that bscorecard thing before. Drawing a blank on where though.

  • Jesse

    John,

    The webpages that warn you of computer infections are typically put together by computer crackers to mislead the naive Windows users into installing viruses, trojans, spyware, and other nasties. Regardless of the operating system you are using when you see them, you should just close them out.

    You are right about the Score Card Research problem being server-side. If it were client-side, then the problem would not be so consistently experienced by those without ad-blockers and so consistently avoided by those with ad-blockers. I am unsure, but I think Ebon Muse has fixed the problem, but we will know more when he gives us an update.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    The redirecting problems I was experiencing previously with Firefox are not happening anymore. Hopefully, this instance is closed.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    Since several people reported that the problem was better today, I think we can be confident that one of the things I did this morning fixed it. I’m going under the assumption that it was Technorati, so I’ve reactivated the AddThis and Edit Comments plugins. If you see the problem come back, please let me know and I’ll kill them again. If it doesn’t come back, then I think we have our culprit.

  • TommyP

    I got to the site no problems today, thanks for doing whatever you did to fix it.

  • Valhar2000

    I never noticed anything wrong, using a computer with Windows XP SP2. This computer has Microsoft Security Essentials running, and I run Malwarebytes scans on it every now and then.

    I also have Ubuntu, Zenwalk and Windows 7 machines, but I don’t think I’ve used those to view this site in a long time, so I can’t tell if it works on those or not.

  • Ben

    No problems here.

  • lpetrich

    No more problems in Firefox.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    Well, I’m going to say this problem is fixed. Thanks to everyone who helped investigate it! As for Technorati, they’re going to be receiving a nastygram from me in short order.