Who is Michael Knowlton and Why Did He Hack My Website?

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If you were hit by the recent WordPress hack which redirects your visitors to paymoneysystem.info and paymoneysystem.info/in.cgi?michaeleknowlton, you may be wondering just who exactly Michael Knowlton is, and why (and how) he hacked your website. Here’s the run-down.

In reality, the odds are very good that Michael Knowlton (actually Michael E. Knowlton, if you look closely at the URL) did not in fact hack your website or, indeed, that he, whomever he is, has anything to do with the hack whatsoever. In fact, it’s quite likely that Michael Knowlton is as much of a victim of this hack as are you, and that his affiliate account at paymoneysystem.info was hacked, or that “Michael Knowlton” is a name that the hacker pulled out of thin air and the real Michael Knowltons of the world are just ‘lucky’ that it was their name upon which the hacker landed.

A search for Michael Knowlton turns up several, including an arson investigator from New York, an artist in California, and an inventor from Newville, Pennsylvania who deals in things such as inventing methods for winding tape onto a roll.

None of these seem likely candidates for authoring a WordPress hack or, indeed, having an affiliate account on a site which, as it turns out, has a connection to a known hacker and malware pusher in Russia.

So, if you are wondering who Michael Knowlton is and why he hacked your website, he probably didn’t, and a better thing to be wondering is how whomever hacked your site did it, and how to fix it (here’s how).

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