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Gootloader infection cleaned up

Dear blog owner and visitors,

This blog had been infected to serve up Gootloader malware to Google search victims, via a common tactic known as SEO (Search Engine Optimization) poisioning. Your blog was serving up 299 malicious pages. Your blogged served up malware to 37 visitors.

I tried my best to clean up the infection, but I would do the following:

  • Upgrade WordPress to the latest version (one way the attackers might have gained access to your server)
  • Upgrade all WordPress themes to the latest versions (another way the attackers might have gained access to your server)
  • Upgrade all WordPress plugins (another way the attackers might have gained access to your server), and remove any unnecessary plugins.
  • Verify all users are valid (in case the attackers left a backup account, to get back in)
  • Change all passwords (for WordPress accounts, FTP, SSH, database, etc.) and keys. This is probably how the attackers got in, as they are known to brute force weak passwords
  • Run antivirus scans on your server
  • Block these IPs ( and, either in your firewall, .htaccess file, or in your /etc/hosts file, as these are the attackers command and control servers, which send malicious commands for your blog to execute
  • Check cronjobs (both server and WordPress), aka scheduled tasks. This is a common method that an attacker will use to get back in. If you are not sure, what this is, Google it
  • Consider wiping the server completly, as you do not know how deep the infection is. If you decide not to, I recommend installing some security plugins for WordPress, to try and scan for any remaining malicious files. Integrity Checker, WordPress Core Integrity Checker, Sucuri Security,
    and Wordfence Security, all do some level of detection, but not 100% guaranteed
  • Go through the process for Google to recrawl your site, to remove the malcious links (to see what malicious pages there were, Go to Google and search agreement)
  • Check subdomains, to see if they were infected as well
  • Check file permissions

Gootloader (previously Gootkit) malware has been around since 2014, and is used to initally infect a system, and then sell that access off to other attackers, who then usually deploy additional malware, to include ransomware and banking trojans. By cleaning up your blog, it will make a dent in how they infect victims. PLEASE try to keep it up-to-date and secure, so this does not happen again.


The Internet Janitor

Below are some links to research/further explaination on Gootloader:

This message

Where are your pictures?

I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed and saw something that was really depressing.

The brief conversation indicated that a family member was looking for pictures of her brother or cousin.  The common response was “I have some from a couple of years ago,” or “Mine are packed away, but I’ll look this weekend.”  But the most heartbreaking one was “All the pictures I had were lost when my computer was stolen last month.”

You know I’ve long been an advocate of printing your pictures.  Even if you only print a few, print them.  Put them up in your home.  Give them away to relatives and friends.  Keep the memories alive.  But don’t just store them on your computer.  Computers, like all technology, will inevitably fail.  And when they do, it is expensive and time-consuming to recover files from it, if they can be recovered at all.  You can back everything up via various methods, including online.  But ultimately the best method is to just get them printed.  Then they’ll always be there.

Don’t be THAT person.  We offer incentives to get prints versus just the digital files.  We’ll help you decorate your home with pictures of loved ones.  We’ll even be happy to help you print pictures that are on your computer.  And we’ll also help you back them up.  Even if they aren’t pictures that we provided for you.

Please print your pictures.  Before you have to say “they were lost.”


The View from Inside the Event

I generally consider myself fortunate to get magazine assignments where I can cover an interesting event.  And this one was definitely interesting.

A big draw for many with cameras is getting the opportunity to play “paparazzi” and covering much of the event from the perspective that everyone is a target and an opportunity.  It adds a fun viewpoint and is kind of a plus for those who like to feel like it’s all about them… and technically, it really is.

I took a different angle.  I shot the event from the inside, not from the outside.  And even in this blog article, I’m only showing a handful of images here, but there’s a way to see all of them by following the instructions shown a paragraph or two down from here.

When speaking with people in attendance, it was somewhat remarkable to me that this event was much smaller in prior years.  I “noticed” it last year, but really wasn’t aware of it.  This year, I was made more aware of it via a Facebook friendship with Tara Lowe.  Getting the magazine assignment pushed me right over the proverbial edge.

I hope we can all agree that this is for a very good cause.  The organizers, and everyone who played even a small role made a huge difference to the cause.  And that’s really what an event like this is always about.

So, here’s how to see the rest from this event:

All images are available for sale as prints or image files.  If you use the coupon code CRISIS, that will take 25% off your order AND we will donate 10% of your order to Breast Cancer Awareness via the same organization that Identity Crisis supported.


We come from this

I was happy to accompany Diana to her high school reunion this year, with a nice dinner party on Saturday, and a picnic on Sunday. We went to another about 5 years ago.

I had the opportunity to chat with several of her classmates, and a few of their spouses. Getting to know a few of them helped me get a better handle on Diana’s origins and formative years. I first met Diana very late in 1992, online at what were then just computer bulletin boards. In short, we didn’t go to high school together. Chatting with her classmates gave me more insight.

One fellow, Brian, was particularly chatty. We agreed that high school reunions are something of an anomaly. It’s one of the only institutions that virtually demands a reunion of people every 5-10 years. But we went on to agree that the high school years help establish who you will become;  but does little to aid in discovering who you are. There are certainly things we take away from the experience, but we don’t always realize it right away.

As we were driving home after the picnic on Sunday, I reflected on what my own high school experience meant to me. And at the time, it just seemed like I was going through the motions. But now I can honestly say that I was creating a sense of self-esteem that would not fully manifest itself until I was almost 50 years old.

Bottom line: you can learn a lot about yourself by going to someone else’s reunion.

Just make sure you’re invited.

An Unconventional Omelet

photography of an omelet

This is the last couple of bites of one of the tastiest omelets I’ve had.  And I made it.  I kind of “came to me” when I saw the ingredients in my fridge (seriously need to get to the grocery store) and was hungry for a late breakfast (noonish).

It’s unconventional because it contains no meat and no cheese.  Now many of you are going to look at that very fact and say “then it’s not an omelet.”  But look at the ingredients below and try it… at least once… before you give up and say that it isn’t going to be worth it.

Here’s what you’ll need (per omelet, I made two):

  • Butter blend, margarine or a pan spray you can tolerate
  • 2-3 eggs
  • 1 tsp water
  • salt and pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp spring onions (they have a much crisper flavor that white or yellow onions), chopped
  • 1/3 cup white mushrooms (you can surely substitute here, but this is what I had), sliced (and diced if they are really big slices)
  • About 2 tbsp of your favorite hummus (I used Roasted Red Pepper, which works well with this recipe)
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced

All your protein comes from the eggs.  You get some from the avocado and hummus, but not a lot.  What you DON’T get is a bunch of saturated, LDL-laden cholesterol (such as that you’d get in meat or cheese).

Heat an omelet-size pan at medium, and when it’s hot, turn it down to low-medium.  This helps prevent the eggs from burning before you get a good omelet shell.

Blend your eggs with the water, salt and pepper (to taste).  The water will help make your omelet a lot more fluffy.  Set this aside.

Add your butter, margarine or cooking spray, then right away toss the onions and mushrooms into your hot pan.  Let them sizzle a moment, tossing or stirring until they get a little soft and absorb some of the flavors.

Add the egg you just blended.  Make sure it’s even across the pan.  Wait a minute or two, then pull back the edges of the omelet (with a spatula) to let some of the liquid eggs meet the pan in about three areas.  Keep doing this until the liquid egg won’t move.  Wait another 30 seconds or so, then flip the eggs.  If you have a really wide spatula, this will be done more easily.  Of course, some of you are masters of flipping an omelet (or pancakes) right in the pan – more power to you.

After a few seconds, spread two tablespoons of the hummus in a thin layer across one half of the omelet.  You can feel free to toss anything else in here you want (I considered a few spinach leaves, honestly), but close over the other half and wait a few seconds for the hummus to blend into the crevices.

Slide onto a plate and add 4-5 slices of avocado on top.  I thought about sprinkling the avocado with lemon juice, but I didn’t want that kind of spiciness with the spring onions already giving me a crisp taste, and the hummus was also pretty tasty, too.

Serve.  I served with a slice of cantaloupe.  And coffee, of course.

Give this a try.  It had a lot of delicate flavors, and some not so subtle, but the avocado really rounded things out for me.

I don’t have nutrition numbers precisely, but you’ll have about 28g protein, whatever fat is in the eggs (good cholesterol from it and the avocado), and a really good feeling that you didn’t bog yourself down with a ton of cheese and meat in the morning.

By the way, there’s no reason why all of this cannot be prepared the night before and just thrown together in about five minutes in the morning.


Senior Portraits 1-day Sale

I’ve thrown this out there before, but it’s just important enough to want to remind you about it.  This sale is going to occur on one day, April 27.  On that day, and that day only, we are takimg 75% off our senior portrait session fees.  That’s a savings of up to $183 off just your session (sitting) fees.

But we’ve sweetened the deal a little bit.  The first thirty to book your portrait session on April 27 (that’s next Friday, between 10am-6pm) will also get a $75 gift card (in the form of an order credit) toward their portrait order. That certainly makes things quite a bit more attractive, wouldn’t you say?

We’ve made it easy on everyone, because there are three great ways to get your senior session booked:

  • Call us.  Call 304-263-3100 (or toll-free if you are out of state at 888-349-3686) between 10am-6pm. If we are already on the line with someone else, leave a message.  We WILL call everyone back who called in.
  • Book online.  This year, you can book your senior portraits online.  Go to, and look for the instructions for booking online. It’s fast and easy, and you don’t have to worry about playing phone tag.
  • Come in.  We’d be happy to see you.  Setting up your senior portraits takes about ten minutes.  Select your sessions, give us a little information, pay for your sessions and you’re off!

There’s just one condition to the 75% off sale… the session fees must be paid on that day.  There are no other qualifications or requirements.

Here’s a copy of the flyer we have out and about.  You might want to print a copy out for yourself to remind you to call in.  Or book online.  Or stop by.

April 27… that’s the date to remember.Senior Portrait One Day Sale

Stop Teasing! Where’s the Free Stuff?!

Okay, okay!!

Yeah, you can’t say free and then not tell people about it.  But here’s where it starts. We’ve run all kinds of contests and promotions, both on our Facebook page and on the blog.  But we’ve always run them as photo-based contests (go figure, huh, that a photographer runs a photo contest).  Anyway… this, our first of many giveaways, is not a photo contest.  Instead it is a writing contest.  Read on… read on.

We are giving away a complete engagement portrait session.  You don’t already have to be a client, and there are no exclusions to the prize winners. In addition to the session, you will also get an 11×14 print from the session, and 25 save-the-date cards designed exclusively by us (includes envelopes).

So, how do you enter?

Simple. Tell us a story.  About how you met your future spouse.  Don’t be sparse with the words, either. “We met at a party” will probably not get you very far.  We need to feel the romance, and the “love at first sight” moments. Remember, we’re romantics here at TLC Photography… we adore a good love story.  But it’s not just us you’ll have to impress.  All of the submitted stories will be put on to our Facebook page for our guests there to read and vote on.  This is about a $475 value… all free.  All you have to do is write a story.

Here’s exactly how to do it:

  1. In the Comments section (Add Comments or Comments at the top or bottom), tell us your story. You’re welcome to get help from friends and your love, of course. But they should be original words and an original story… we can detect B.S. a mile away.
  2. You can add to it later if you want by replying to the comment. Don’t worry about saying something totally dumb, because all comments on our blog are moderated and won’t be published until we read them.
  3. On March 26, the comments will be transferred to our Facebook page and that’s where the voting will begin.  You can vote for as many stories as you like.  But the winning story will win the prize, of course.  To vote, get your friends and family to come over to our Facebook page and click “Like” on your story (each story will have your name on it).
  4. The last day to vote will be March 31.  The winner will be announced on April 2 (well, would you want to be told you won a $475 prize package on April Fool’s Day???).

If you KNOW of someone who is engaged, just got engaged, or might be getting engaged, TELL THEM ABOUT THIS.  It’s the potential to win a free portrait session… in-studio or on-location… and a bunch of free stuff to go with it.  Go now… tell all… or begin telling YOUR tale of how you met your spouse-to-be.

Go!  Start typing!

Engagement portrait at Morgans Grove Park



A New Year’s Wedding

It’s been a year, but not a long one.  Congratulations to Stephanie and B.J. on their first wedding anniversary.

Senior: Becca

Another great senior we met through one of our senior models.  Becca attends South Hagerstown High School, and was great to work with.

Becca at the TLC Photography studio for her senior portraitsBecca's senior portraits at Martinsburg's train stationFor more about senior portraits, visit our Seniors Page.

An independent weekend


Most of you know that the last few weeks for us has been extremely busy. Well, this weekend is kind of the payoff for all that hard work.

Today we are in Frederick, Maryland… a local yarn shop is closing it’s doors soon and is selling out. So Diana decided to take advantage of that opportunity. I’m along to enjoy time off. But when we walked into the shop, I realized almost instantly that I needed to be elsewhere. In just the downstairs area, about 20×25′, there were easily 15 people and racks and racks of yarn to be pawed over.

So, for now, I ended up here, about a block away.