Readers may remember the infamous Zumziblatoo computer hack that was documented here and on several computer security sites about a month ago. It allowed hackers to remove items from the search listings of Google so they would not appear in subsequent searches. Although Google assured us that they had patched their system to remove the problem, we have seen evidence that it is back, and this time it has spam between its teeth.
The new version exploits a similar hole in Google's defences but also triggers the sending of hundreds of spam emails using Google's G-Mail system. Despite G-Mail being shut down several times recently for maintenance, Google have still not resolved the issue.
We spoke with a notorious hacker known only as CodeSpanka who showed us the hack being used 'in the wild'. CodeSpanka arranged to meet us in a derelict warehouse in London's East End, and told us to bring a laptop and mobile Internet. On a dusty table CodeSpanka went into the Google search page and then entered a series of keystrokes which were interspersed with finger clicks and dance moves to stop us from remembering the sequence.
He then got us to enter a search. We typed in 'Below Decks', currently being searched for all over the world. We got what we expected, 14 million hits, and the first seventeen pages all links to stories and discussion relating to the unstoppable Below Decks phenomenon.
CodeSpanka then pointed out the window and said "Victoria Beckham innit?" By the time we realised it was a ruse we had missed another furious sequence of keystrokes. He sucked his teeth and stood back from the laptop. It now showed only 634,000 hits and all the links to Below Decks were gone.
A moment's silence was broken when everybody's message tones sounded. We all checked our respective Blackberrys, iPhones and Mobiles to discover we had been bombarded with pirate-related spam e-mails. Invites to pirate-themed bars, the Raleigh Pirate Museum and nautical costumiers were interspersed with ads for 'a peg leg to be proud of' and counterfeit watches with 'hook-friendly' clasps. I personally received over 30 e-mails about plank-walking classes, jobs in the mainbrace-splicing industry and parrot porn. This distraction was enough to allow CodeSpanker to slip silently away, taking my laptop with him.
So Zumziblatoo is back. And it's back with a spam vengeance. Hopefully Google will patch this exploit soon and get the old links back. In the meantime I can only apologise to anyone searching for information about Below Decks. You will need to go straight to the source: Episode 8.