Malware warning? It’s the HAMSTER’s fault! His fate is in your hands. POLL

I received emails today from readers who said that when they came to the blog, they received a "malware" warning.

To my knowledge there is no malware on the page anywhere

The warning is coming because of the Hamster Cage widget on the left side bar.

The question now is… what to do about that Hamster?


As usual, vote and give your comment in the combox.

UPDATE 2 Aug 0325 GMT:

Do make sure to check Mulier Fortis on the hamster/rat thing.

And remember that hamsters are just slightly cuter versions of rats.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. pfhawkins says:

    I work for a web hosting company, and we see this sort of thing all the time.

    It looks like “” has been added to one of these malware lists. There is a mechanism in place where a browser will check every portion of a site to see if it’s being loaded from a site on their malware list. If even a little bit is showing, the browser displays a scary warning message.

    Some part of your page (I suspect one of your widgets or plugins) is loading something from “”, and *that* is what is causing the malware warning, not anything on itself.

    The only recourse you have on your end is to stop loading content from If gets their act together and is removed from the malware list, then the warning will go away as well. But you have no control over that process, whereas you do have control over letting on your site.

    Let me know if any of that needs clarifying. I have yet to finish my morning tea.

  2. pfhawkins: Thanks for that!

  3. pfhawkins says:

    I think I found the widget in question, and emailed you the details Father.

  4. Roland de Chanson says:

    I am not getting the message but if pfhawkins is correct, the problem lies in the widget with the hamster.

  5. Okay… I found the culprit. It is the interactive hamster at the bottom of the left sidebar.

    I believe he is harmless, but would people miss it?

  6. momof10 says:

    I knew it was going to be the hamster. I really like that little guy!

  7. becket1 says:

    I’m getting the warning to.

  8. Thomas S says:

    Simply toss aside of the hamster? This feels like 1970 all over again.

  9. wanda says:

    Oh, no. Not the hamster. I did like feeding him from time to time. Well, Father, whatever you think is best. Alas, poor hamster, I knew him, Horatio.

  10. Vincenzo says:

    You could put a placeholder up until he’s fixed.

  11. Magpie says:

    ”Okay… I found the culprit. It is the interactive hamster at the bottom of the left sidebar.

    I believe he is harmless, but would people miss it?”

    That has to be the funniest comment from Fr Z in a long time.

    I wouldn’t miss the hamster. I don’t feed him very often. Perhaps that is why he is sick?

  12. Thomas S says:

    In may haste to feed the hamster a possible last meal I began very quickly dispatching the pellets when I made a discovery. If you click to bring up a new pellet, but don’t immediately release it, you are able to throw the food with great e-force using a quick hand motion in tandem with the release of the pellet, causing ricochet about his cage. This new discovery will make his departure all the more intolerable, but the next 5 minutes all the more enjoyable.

    Requiescat in pace, mus muris-similis creatura.

  13. Father G says:

    I too just got the malware warning when I tried logging.

  14. Brian Day says:

    Is the malware warning browser specific? I’m using Firefox 3.6.8 and do not get the warning.

  15. Jaybirdnbham says:

    I just tried the new pellet-tossing trick, and it’s pretty neat. This is going to be one very fat hamster before he is ‘euthanized’. :-)
    BTW, I’m not getting a malware warning on this site.

  16. Jack Hughes says:

    I like the Hamster – Keep the hamster

  17. Charliebird says:

    I love the hamster! Don’t put him to sleep! I have never received a malware warning, and have several scanners installed to detect any. I just added two turtles to my blog-in-the-making, btw.

  18. Dean says:

    Don’t care about the harmless hamster. What does bother me is to begin reading a post and find it necessary to scroll through a long column of white space, down past the hamster, to find the rest of said posts.

  19. teomatteo says:

    send him to Roma…. but first hook his ‘wheel’ up to a generator and then let him recharge my gov. motors Chevy Volt…

  20. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    ‘The Tragedy of Hamsterlet, Prince of Zuhlsdorf’

    Attributed in certain foul quartos to Master W.S., but in others to Master Th. Sto.: in both cases most safely placed among the ‘Spuria/Dubia”

    Act I, Scene 1:

    The Prince is discovered on stage, as always, alone:

    Talk about living in a fishbowl – hamsterarium, actually, of course…
    And now, and now…
    Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get me!
    I’ll just go on acting normal…
    Not protest too much or anything…
    And maybe they’ll spare me…
    Oh, to take arms aqainst a sea of troubles…
    Or my quietus make, with a surfeit of pellets?
    Not, oh not, the bourne from which no hamster returns!

  21. patergary says:

    I am not a member of PETA or SPCA but please leave the Hamster alone.
    I don’t get any malware warning, and I recommend Firefox or Google Chrome.

  22. Incaelo says:

    Surely not euthanasia, Father?

    I say you send the critter to Rome. It’s the Catholic thing to do.

  23. pelerin says:

    Have no idea what malware is but if the hamster is causing some readers trouble then he will have to go! After his introduction on Fr Z’s blog I put his ‘brother’ onto my Google page where he is happily going round on his wheel each time I turn on the computer. I also have a spider, a tree frog and some penguins on my Google page and marvel at how they move around.

  24. Supertradmum says:

    I play with the hamster and want you to keep it. I have had no trouble, but maybe you can “clean it up”.We had hamsters as kids and two lived to be very old. One died at the age of 17 years, when a priest came to our new house to bless the rooms, the hamster flipped up and died just as the priest entered the kitchen. He blessed the hamster and said “I didn’t think I was coming here for a funeral.”

    That was the 17 year old. We had another hamster that died at about 13 years. I guess they liked us….to live so long.

  25. irishgirl says:

    Nothing has happened on my computer, though sometimes it’s slow when I come upon your home page, Father Z.

    Had no idea what the hamster was for-I’m not much a ‘techie’-but the little critter is cute!

    ‘The Tragedy of Hamsterlet, Prince of Zuhlsdorf’….oh, that’s funny, Venerator!

    If you’re going to do anything with the hamster, send him on to Rome, Father….put a sign on his wheel like Vincenzo did.

  26. Brian Day says:

    I personally like the hamster, but I voted for the vacation in Roma. It only seems fair to the few (?) WDTPRS’s that are having the problem.

  27. Supertradmum says:

    The Romans in ancient times ate dormice. They won’t eat this hamster will they, Father?

    Ancient Roman Recipes – The Dormouse!
    One of the most intriguing of the Ancient Roman recipes is for the dormouse. Probably because the thought of it feels us with horror! The edible dormouse was farmed by the Romans in large pits or in terracotta containers and eaten by the ancient Romans as a snack or as part of the first course of the Roman main meal called the Coena. Dormouse recipe serving instructions: Dormice were sprinkled with poppy-seed and honey and were served with hot sausages on a silver gridiron, underneath which were damson plums and pomegranate seeds.

    Substitute hamster if needed…..

  28. Tim says:

    I’d never seen the hamster before today but because of him my browser won’t load the wdtprs page without a very frightening message. It seems some others are having the same experience. I have to click on ‘ignore warnings’ to view the site.

  29. Supertradmum says:

    sorry forgot source-Ancient Roman Recipes

  30. DavidJ says:

    Toss it.

  31. lucy says:

    Rome ? What would a hampster do it Rome ? Dodge the traffic ? I said to send him to a nice farm. Feed him a bit of the best cheese in your pantry and then send him packing to make friends on the farm.

  32. lucy says:

    Or maybe Sunday dinner ?

  33. Thomas S says:

    Yet another discovery to go along with throwing the pellet trick! If you click to produce a pellet, keep a hold of it without releasing the mouse button, and present it to the hamster, he will take it right out of your “hand.”

    What other wonders will remain hidden forever if the li’l bastard is offed?


  34. Iconophilios says:

    Thomas S, I think you mean troktikophobia, fear of Rodents.

  35. Fr Matthew says:

    “Save the digital hamster!” You could add bumper stickers and mugs with that slogan to your e-store right next to the “Oremus pro pontifice” items.

  36. Random Friar says:

    May I perchance suggest a compromise? Substitute the hamster cage with a mini Hampster Dance window. The lyrics to the Hampster Dance should be easily translatable to the lingua latina (What does the Hampster Really Say?)

  37. I think we are seeing a basic strategy developing.

  38. Jack Hughes says:

    supporters of the hampster vote CHICAGO style!!

  39. AnAmericanMother says:

    the original hamsterdance . . .

    . . . this was recreated by somebody or other from the original Geocities “hampsterdance”. The original has been through several ownerships, and it’s gussied up and commercialized so it’s unrecognizable.

  40. Elly says:

    I like the hamster. It always made me smile. It reminds me of my little creatures- hamster and gerbils.

    Supertradmum- 17 years is very impressive! I thought my gerbil did well to live 6 years.

  41. Rich says:

    I have not gotten a malware warning, but sometimes I come to the blog and it takes forever to load up due to just a couple remaining items. I have either thought these items refer to the live feeder feeds and/or that blasted hamster.

  42. Supertradmum says:


    And that particular hamster had to put up with my two teen brothers who, dare I admit this in front of PETA folks, put the hamster in an empty paper towel roll and blew the hamster onto their duvets on their beds. Maybe the hamster liked it or the exercise made it last longer. I was appalled by this, however, and ended up taking it into my home when the two boys went to college (I have three brothers and one sister). The other pet was a gerbil, so my memory may not serve me here, as the 17 year old may have been a gerbil as well.

  43. Brian Day says:

    The car company “Kia” has produced a couple of TV commercials based upon hamsters. I think this is the latest:
    This or That
    Now if we could only get a chant version. :)

  44. The Cobbler says:

    I love the hamster, though I long wondered if such gadgetry clogged the system one way or another (things like it usually do).

    However, if you are sending him on vacation to Rome, make sure he’s actually left before you put the sign up…

  45. Tom Ryan says:

    Sell it to a snake breeder

  46. You appear to have one hamster sent to Rome while another has taken residence on the sidebar.

    I use Google Chrome, and I don’t get any malware warning on this site.

    Personally, I prefer cats…

  47. I lurve that hammy! He’s so cute! My 7 year old loves him too. Save the hamster!

  48. kelleyb says: offed Hammy! I know you have…’re just saying he’s gone to Rome. You “sent” him to e-heaven…waaaaaaaaaaaah

  49. Gaz says:

    Save Basil!

  50. Charivari Rob says:

    Don’t send him to Rome.

    Send him to the UK.

    Energetic as he can be when the mood is upon him, he can power a mode of transport for those who can’t afford the bus tickets for the Papal Masses. Sorta’ like Magilla on Yogi’s Ark

  51. colospgs says:

    Please take this in the light-hearted manner in which it is meant…My computer’s cursor is a pistol pointed upwards. If I position it just right, the hamster’s mouth is right up against the barrel of the gun. When I click (fire?) the cursor, all it looks like is the hamster takes the bullet and eats it. Very cool.

  52. Mary G says:

    No Father, no. Please!! I love the little hamster and spend precious minutes feeding him, watching him and playing with him. Please, don’t exterminate him!

  53. pelerin says:

    ‘Save Basil’ – love it! Siberian hamsters are well worth saving! But if he has to go to the cage in the sky then there are lots of other Basils waiting to be put on Google pages!

  54. PostCatholic says:

    I realize you may not have a lot of faith in my opinion, but I’ll offer it for your consideration anyway.

    I am a professional website developer and have been for a decade. I am part of the coding team for the Joomla! project, have a tricked-out Firefox installation that other developers envy, have forgotten more than most people need to know about CMS security and know all the tricks for crashing a Drupal, Joomla! or WordPress site. (As evidence of my bona fides, have a look back at a post when you mentioned the “Beloved Community” in Chicago and your objections to its pastor, and you’ll see that I identified the web site designer merely from a cursory look at the site.) I can spot an attack page at 100 paces. Your blog raises no alarm.

    There is absolutely nothing nefarious or poorly formed in the code for the hamster application. I tested the application from and asked another developer friend to do so as well. It was a fun little exercise among geeks to do this. Result? We might have approached the coding differently, but there’s really nothing wrong with the application.

    (Frankly, I’d be much more worried about being on the insecure WordPress platform, but that’s when you really get into violent religious debates. Trust me, the Filioque has nothing on open source CMS wars and yes, I do believe we have blood martyrs.)

    If you’re still concerned, reinstall the application. It’s possible that your local version was corrupted somehow.

  55. Jack Hughes says:

    Save Basil, Save Basil Save Basil

    Seriously Father I hope you haven’t sent him to the Holy Father as a gift for his cat.

  56. I’m on Firefox 3.6.8 and not having issues. And yes, that hamster is cute! I vote send him to Rome if you *must* do something! Vincenzo’s pic was perfect. Maybe you can link that to a page with the hamster “in Rome”?

  57. Do make sure to check Mulier Fortis on the hamster/rat thing.

    And remember that hamsters are just slightly cuter versions of rats.

  58. qsugon says:

    Somebody asked Fr. Z for exorcism against rats. The exorcism worked.

  59. pelerin says:

    ‘Basil is innocent!’ Hurrah!

  60. Jack Hughes says:

    I’m sorry Father but Hamsters are not rats- gerbals are slightly cuter versions of rats on account of the long tails and have better PR but hamsters are very cute ………… hamsters.

  61. Jack Hughes… yah yah…whatever… they are all just rats of some kind or other. So are pigeons: rats with wings.

  62. AnAmericanMother says:

    If pigeons are rats with wings (and I don’t disagree), what do we call the non-migratory Canada Geese that are infesting every place with any greenery?

    (other than moving targets for my overly enthusiastic middle Lab, who has taken to freelance goose hunting)

  63. JamesS says:

    Chop up some onion, chop up some garlic. Sautee until tender. Add fresh heirloom tomatoes and the hamster meat. Braise until tender. Sprinkle fresh chopped basil at the end. Serve over penne with a chianti.

    Problem solved.

  64. Charivari Rob says:

    “…what do we call the non-migratory Canada Geese…”

    Fair game?

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