A Gathering of Gremlins: Updates from a cranky Southern Fried Server

I’ve been digging through the Southern Fried Servers for the better part of a week, now. This is all just a totally mess. I still have some rudimentary editorial control, which is how I managed to push out a few updates (really, future Andrew, you haven’t changed your password in 25 years?!). I am totally locked out of the server and content management system. Incidentally, the back-end of whatever future version of WordPress this is looks pretty swish, which only further highlights the fact that we haven’t updated the layout in a quarter century. Has the Southern Fried Science Team become curmudgeonly old academics with aging homepages from a different era?

I kind of hope so.

I have been able to backdoor my way into the server and at least get a look at the source code to see what’s going on. The code is just a complete disaster. Even the basic HTML looks like nothing I’ve ever seen. None of it makes an ounce of sense. There is nothing that ever begins to resemble natural language. This code was not designed to be written or edited by humans. I mean, most code looks like gibberish to me, but this is super gibberish. I don’t even know how to start.

We tried dialing all the way down into the machine code, just hoping to find something familiar. It has to get normal somewhere, right? At some point, it has to tell a contemporary computer how to deliver a website. I mean, the Javascript still (sort of) works and Javascript barely works in 2016!

It’s even worse than I imagined. It’s not just the blog that’s borked. It’s the whole damn server! And not just software, either. The old operating system is gone. Whatever this is has even gotten as far as corrupting the rootkit and BIOS. The BIOS! And not just “oh, here’s a new boot order” but a total rewrite. It doesn’t even look like binary anymore.

At first, I thought this was some kind of glitch. Maybe even a very clever virus. But this goes far beyond a simple infection.

This is a full blown invasion.