Category Archives: Society News

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 387 malicious pages. Your blogged served up malware to 279 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

SMCS Vice President elected

On Tuesday 19th October 2021, the committee held its first meeting following the Annual General Meeting in May 2021. 

At the AGM, a Vice President was not elected. The committee voted unanimously to co-opt Dr Sandra Ward, an existing member of the SMCS committee, to the role of Vice President until the next AGM — congratulations Sandra!

Therefore, we now have a full complement in the SMCS standing committee, and we look forward to getting to work, together with the College:

  • Mr Steven Spencer (President)
  • Dr Sandra Ward (Vice President, co-opted)
  • Mr Andy Hopkins (Secretary)
  • Mr Timothy Hughes (Treasurer)

SMCS AGM 2020 – a new committee

On Saturday 15th of May 2021, the 2020 AGM of the SMCS was held remotely via Zoom. At this a new president was elected, Steven Spencer, who is the first male president of the Society. 

Also elected was Tim Hughes to the position of Treasurer and as ordinary committee members, Christine Wright, Nuriya Shuro, Isobel Dawson, Jane Roscoe, and Janice Clark. 

The meeting heard reports about all aspects of society activity and also from the college principal regarding both developments and the return to normality as we all emerge from the realities of Covid-19. 

All in all, the Society is in a strong position with an active committee and many plans for the future, as well, alongside the college, emerge from the current darker times. 

SMCS AGM – 15th of May 2021, 11am, to be held on Zoom

St Mary’s College Society AGM and elections for President, Treasurer and Committee Members

Saturday 15th May 11:00 on Zoom. 

Sign up: Please register at  to receive the Zoom meeting details. If you would like to stand in the election for Committee, President or Treasurer then please email Andy Hopkins at for further information. 

What is SMCS?

The St Mary’s College Society is the alumni association for all graduates of St Mary’s College. 

What do we currently do?

  • Organise an annual alumni reunion weekend
  • Produce an annual alumni newsletter each summer plus a Christmas supplement 
  • Provide funds to support current students (currently the Book Fund and contributions to travel and postgraduate conference bursaries)
  • Organise an Annual Lecture with a high-profile guest speaker 
  • Work with the College to provide a focus point for alumni 

What could we be doing?

The restrictions of the last year have also shown many opportunities to work in a different way. Future work might include:

  • Increased networking support to set up local reunions
  • Regular programme of virtual events for alumni
  • Increasing links between alumni and current students
  • Increasing the breadth of alumni that engage with the society and college

How can we do this?

To ensure we are offering the alumni services that all of our graduates want to see, we need two things: ideas and volunteers!

Ideas: We’d love to hear your ideas of what would engage you with the wider alumni community. Come along to the virtual AGM and there will be an opportunity to break out into smaller discussion groups to share your thoughts, or email in your suggestions to the society email account.

Volunteers: Join our committee! We have several committee positions up for election, including the Officer posts of President and Treasurer.  

Pre-Covid, the committee met twice a year at College. We have been meeting online during the current pandemic, and there is scope to continue meeting this way should it allow more alumni to meaningfully engage. We are very open to working in new ways if that allows us to be more inclusive of a greater majority of alumni, so please don’t let distance be a barrier.

All committee members have the option of taking on specific areas of work, such as sitting on a bursary committee or leading on developing a local reunion in their area. Our named roles of Treasurer and President have specific duties. 


Please see our Constitution for details of the roles of Committee Member, President and Treasurer

To nominate yourself for a position, please email by Friday 14th May. You will need to state a proposer and seconder who are also members of St Mary’s College Society. Please indicate whether you are standing for President, Treasurer or an ordinary committee position. We can put you in touch with outgoing postholders if you would like to find out more before standing. 

Candidates will be asked to briefly introduce themselves to the AGM. In the case of contested elections, you will be asked to share a little about who you are, why you wish to stand and what you hope to achieve in the role – maximum of five minutes. We will then use the polling facility on Zoom to vote – this allows all present to vote anonymously. If you stand for a contested officer position but are unsuccessful, you will then be able to stand in the ordinary committee member elections if you so wish. 

We look forward to seeing you at the AGM!

SMCS Annual Lecture 6th November 2018

Following the success of the inaugural SMCS lecture last October, the Society invites members, guests, and all members of both the St Mary’s College and broader university community to our second annual SMCS Lecture, to be held in the Kenworthy Hall on Tuesday 6th November 2018.

This year’s lecture is, ‘‘The Rich Entanglement of Science and Religion, a Fresh Appraisal’ and the Speaker is Professor Tom McLeish FRS, who has recently departed from Durham University to become Professor of Natural Philosophy in the Department of Physics at the University of York.

Professor McLeish has varied research interests, as detailed here, and is a long-standing friend of the college, having been a member of the SCR for many years and a supporter of the college community. 

Refreshments will be provided on the evening and booking is not required. Please come along, and bring friends/family to what will be a fascinating lecture.

The SMCS Committee

The Inaugural SMCS Annual Lecture, 24th October 2017

Dear Members, 

The inaugural SMCS Annual Lecture will take place in the Kenworthy Hall of St Mary’s College at 2030 on Tuesday 24th October 2017. 

Professor Nancy Cartwright will deliver a lecture entitled:

‘Evidence and Policy: Why ‘What Works’ Doesn’t Work’

This promises to be a most fascinating and timely examination of thought and logical thinking, particularly against the backdrop of the world in 2017. 

There is no need to book and all members are welcome, along with their friends, family and other guests. Refreshments will be provided on the night. 

With best wishes, 

SMCS Committee