Site Up & Running

March 9, 2013 at 12:35 pm

We’ve completed the associtation of the picture files to their corresponding pages and places so, we believe the site is back to normal.  We do know there is a script error on the main Photo Gallery page, but it does not prevent you from getting to the sub-page photo galleries.  We do appreciate your patience as we struggled to rebuild the site.  :)

Hacked >:(

December 2, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Hi there, I’m Chris and I was responsible for redesigning and developing the Jacobson site here, which is being operated currently by my father John. Anyway, there’s a bit of bad news and I wanted to make everyone aware that the site was hacked over the Thanksgiving weekend and many of you may have seen a “hacked by hackers” line of text on a blank homepage. There was also a brief period where a propaganda page for the Bengladeshi Cyber Army may have been displayed as well.

Before anyone freaks out, these events are actually more common than they appear. So the Jacobson site was not, to my knowledge, targeted for attack in any specific way. It’s a small memorial site, related to the military but not on any government or military operated servers or equipment. It’s privately operated on a private hosting company. This site is built on the WordPress platform, which is a free, open-source blogging and content management system for operating websites. WordPress is built to be solid and secure, but it’s ubiquity makes it a target, generally, for scripted attacks or breaches. What usually happens is a hacking unit will trawl for insecure or out of date installations, poorly made or outdated plugins, or poorly made template files that allow for PHP execution. This can sometimes happen on a single installation of WordPress that exists on a shared server in which many people operate their sites. So site A may be out of date and feature a bug that lets hackers breach the admin and then they are able to execute code more freely on the server, affecting everyone’s installations and then site B also gets hacked through no fault of the owner of that site. That’s kind of the nature of the most typical attacks as I understand them.

So, in the case of this site, I’m not exactly certain what went wrong. This site is on such a shared server but I don’t know of any breaches. There was a hacked admin user on this site but I don’t believe the existing admin user was coopted for that purpose. My personal user was deleted, so that may have been it. I can’t quite tell how this happened at this point. I have however taken the following steps to get the site back to normal:

  • Removed the hacked user
  • Reinstated my user with a new password
  • Resetting Dad’s password as well
  • Cleared the hacked code from the affected templates
  • Deleted plugins that I think were installed by the attackers
  • Reinstalled the current WordPress installation in case there was any modification to core files (does not appear to have happened)
  • Imported missing pages from a backup taken on the 23rd (we back the site up weekly for just such events!)

That puts us back to about where we started. Our only casualty so far is that somehow image links have been corrupted, which is why you’re seeing all broken images across the site. I’m going to have to manually fix these at some point soon.

To mitigate future events I’m looking into ways to better harden the site and server. We had taken some precautions, kept the site up to date, kept a weekly backup, but these are now clearly insufficient by themselves. I’ll have another post when I’ve made more progress. Thanks everyone!

Update: I’ve made some modifications to some key files and restricted access to others. I’ve also added a few security related plugins. Hopefully this should help prevent future attacks. I’ll continue to improve the site as time permits. Thanks again!

Remembering Airman Jacobson

September 28, 2012 at 10:52 am

Today is a special day of remembrance for Liz.

This was written by by her friend and Team Leader: Rusty Weatherby.

Another year memorial anniversary is upon us and it only seems like she was taken from us yesterday. She will forever be my hero for the sacrifice she gave that day. You see a few hours prior to the IED going off next to her gun truck I walked the road, clearing it for her convoy to pass. I dismounted from my gun truck and began a mile or so trek over an overpass all the way to the turn south toward Kuwait. I checked every inch of the north side lanes, not knowing that a tragic event would unfold at the top of the overpass in a few short hours. As I ended my shift a little while later and another patrol took over I took a shower and went to bed without giving it a thought that something bad would happen. An hour or so into my sleep time I was awaken and told that our convoy was hit and we sustained casualties. I put on my uniform and rushed to my staging area and pushed out as fast as we could to help secure the carnage. As I sat a few miles from the scene I was approached by a supervisor that had come to check on us and he told me that Elizabeth was killed. You see I knew that she and TSgt Harper, both on my team from Goodfellow AFB were in that convoy but I never thought once that it could be one of them hurt. Shoot it could have very well been me that died that day, but a series of events made that day the worst day of my military career. As I turned to my patrol and informed them of her passing I knew that it would be rough. I would have rather not said a word about her death until we finished our mission, but felt that I should be the one to tell them. My team was comprised of 3 or 4 members from Team Goodfellow, so they needed to hear it from me. As I looked into their eyes I saw their pain, but I stayed strong because I knew we were still sitting in the middle of the desert with a strong possibility of IEDs or enemy contact. A hour or so later my patrol was relieved and sent back to Camp Bucca. It was the worst feeling a person could imagine. I didn’t know how to react. Do I stay strong or do I get angry? I took the path of staying strong for the younger airman on Team Goodfellow.

This day took place about three months into our 180 day tour to Iraq. Team Goodfellow had to honor Elizabeth and then get back on the horse and get to work. This is exactly what we did and I believe we did this with Elizabeth watching over us every step of the way. Every person on Team Goodfellow that deployed with us to Camp Bucca was forever changed by 9/28/05. Elizabeth’s death made me strive to ensure that people always remember the sacrifice she gave that day. She was an awesome woman, airman, and friend that will forever be watching over us as we continue to serve as Defenders. Read the verse below and substitute she in the place or he. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

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Airman Receives Jacobson Expeditionary Excellence Award

February 20, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Amn Awarded

At the Gateway Club at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, Richmond native Lenton Luss was recently awarded the following for 2009: Army Commendation Medal for Expeditionary Excellence; 12 Special Operation Security Forces Squadron (12 SOSFS) Outstanding Professional Performer for Air Force Special Operation Command (AFSOC); Outstanding Professional Performer; and A1C Elizabeth Jacobson Award for Expeditionary Excellence. Luss was also promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant. Leiutenant General Reno, Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Installations and Mission Support, Headquarters U.S. Air Force administered the Oath. Brigadier General McMillan, Director of Security Forces, Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Installations and Mission Support, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, tacked on a stripe. Command Master Sergeant Zidack, Security Forces Career Field Manager, also tacked on a stripe.

Travis AFB Dedicates Jacobson Classroom

February 19, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Travis dedicated this classromm on the 5th anniversary of Elizabeth’s loss.

Dedication recalls late SFS member
by Airman 1st Class Michael Battles
60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

10/4/2010 – TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — Team Travis senior leadership, 60th Security Forces and the Travis First Term Airman Center came together with family and friends of fallen Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Jacobson during a dedication ceremony Sept. 28.

The FTAC classroom, which is used for Airman to in-process when they first arrive at their first duty station, will now be known as the Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Jacobson First Term Airman Center.

“Last year I wanted to start a hero wall at FTAC and thought it would be nice to dedicate the classroom to one of our fallen Airman,” said Tech. Sgt. Tanya Chavez, FTAC non-commissioned officer in charge. “I came across Airman Jacobson and instantly connected with her and her story.”

Airman Jacobson was a Security forces member who lost her life in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom Sept. 28, 2005.

“She served this nation so that we could deliver airpower around the globe,” said Col. James Vechery, 60th Air Mobility Wing commander. “We are here today to celebrate her life, to honor her for what she has done and the selfless service she has given this nation.”

Col Vechery
Col. Jim Vechery, 60th Air Mobility Wing commander, stands with the mother of the late Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Jacobson during a Sept. 26, 2010, ceremony renaming Travis’ First term Airman Center after her. Airman Jacobson died during Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Air Force Photo/ Airman 1st Class Michael Battles)

Airman Jacobson was the first SF Airman to lose their life in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as well as the first female Security Forces member to lose their life.

“Looking at her pictures reminds me of every Airman that in-process through FTAC,” Said Sergeant Chavez. “Her dedication to duty and selflessness is an example we should all follow.”

Airman Jacobson lost her life while providing convoy security support in Safwan, Iraq when her convoy made contact with an improvised explosive device.

“Now that the classroom is officially dedicated to Airman Jacobson, all Travis Airmen will know her legacy and will be inspired by her courageousness for years to come,” said Sergeant Chavez.

New Jacobson “Warrior Chip” Makes its Debut

February 18, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Pictured is a First Term Airmen’s Center class from Travis AFB, CA. The classs is in the Jacobson Classroom, dedicated in 2010, and holding the new Jacobson Warrior Chip memento. Sales of the Warrior Chip and Challenge Coin support the Proud Warrior program benefiting lost and wounded Security Force members.

Jacobson Airman Leadership School

New Jacobson Memento

February 18, 2012 at 3:08 pm

With the price of Challenge Coins rising due to production and shipping costs (USPS up 30%!), we wanted to offer a quality coin-like memento as a value option. We contracted with “Warrior Chips” to produce a Jacobson Warrior Chip honoring Elizabeth. The first run of chips was specially minted in ceramic and a 2″ size that is absolutely stunning! The Jacobson Chip takes advantage of not only a full-color design that shows well, but the increased chip size adds weight and feel to the chip. The resulting Jacobson Chip is a perfect remembrance that would be a wonderful gift or additional to an existing Challenge Coin collection! The cost is only $10 and all proceeds support the Proud Warrior Foundation assisting lost and wounded USAF Security Forces members. You can order a Chip by sending a check or MO for $10 to Proud Warrior, 4 Hunter Trail, Stafford, VA 22554. As soon as we can, we will also have this up on the site with a link for PayPal ordering. Thanks for your continued support!