Posts Tagged ‘spam’

Anonymous is getting very smart!

Happy to be back from the vet's
First off  I took a vacation day from work as I  had to take Oliver (our cat) to the vet for a followup after dental surgery and by the way looking back on my career decisions I should had been a veterinary dental surgeon! They do say hind sight is 20/20. Oh and for those wondering Oliver had a great checkup, he was ecstatic  to get out of the veterinary clinic and home. Some of the other time today was spent on the radio TRYING to make contact with TX5K. On all the bands I had absolutely no problem hearing the pileup trying their luck at making contact but I could not even hear TX5K!! On Saturday my wife has a hair appointment and a trip to the dentist.....no surgery just a checkup....BUT  in ham radio lingo what does XYL at the salon and dentist spell........RADIO TIME!!! So I am going to give TX5K another go before the DXexpedition is over. So why did I entitle this post "Anonymous is getting very smart!" In the past I had
maybe 2 or 3 "anonymous" postings a week. Now let me clarify what I mean my anonymous......these are advertisers trying to post a comment on my blog but the main idea is to plug their biz with a link! Blogger has been excellent with the ability to discern between the real deal anonymous comment and the...let me take advantage of your blog and plug my biz anonymous comment.  Over the last month I have noticed a large increase of anonymous comments (the take advantage type) trying to use my blog. Not sure why this is.....my blog can't be all that popular? I really don't care if they "try" to post their fake comments but what I have noticed is they must be getting smarter in how they word the comment. Blogger is  not recognizing it as spam but seeing it as a legit comment. These past couple of weeks I have had to go through my comment section of blogger and delete comment posts that are just plain spam! Has anyone else had this issue? Or do you have suggestions on how to deal with this?

Spam, spam, egg and spam

Oh joy, my email seems to have been hacked into.
Apologies to anyone who has received any helpful advice they didn’t really want from my account.

I’ve spent the best part of an hour changing passwords and resetting things and this site hold no ‘email-able’ information so there shouldn’t be any coming through but if you’ve been got then I apologise and I’d like to say it’ll never happen again but you know how it is.

It happened at 8.37am today and the password was changed by 9am so it was the best I could do.

Very annoyed about it!

The Spam Report

First of all, Happy New Year, loyal readers.  I have been exhorted by several enthusiasts of the blog to write more.  The months of November and December are busy around the Miller household with the CQ WWs, ARRL Sweepstakes, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and an annual professional conference on the West Coast between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  So, this is a drought time of year for writing.  A number of projects around the station have been started or completed and those will be written up as time allows.  Travel and potential DX operation is on the horizon, etc, etc.  However, today’s topic is WordPress comment spam.

I hadn’t checked the moderation queue on the blog comments for about six weeks until recently.  There were some 1500 comments pending.  Exactly two of them were from real commenters.  (Thanks, by the way!)  I could subscribe to a service (like Akismet) to stem the flow of spam, but I’m a cheapskate and skimming the spam is a bit like reading the police blotter in your local newspaper—a guilty pleasure.

The Internet democratizes the sale of nearly everything, legal or not, by providing a low-cost storefront for a business that can be based anywhere in the world, plus  (semi-)anonymous payment.  This is great for obtaining otherwise unobtanium surplus electronics and parts.  But, it’s also great for anyone selling anything else that is high-risk (for vendor or purchaser) or low-volume in a standard retail setting.  The difficulty for everyone is getting your business noticed.  Enter search-engine optimization (SEO):  techniques that game search engine algorithms to increase your visibility in a search.  Google’s PageRank, for example considers the number of links to a site as a measure of its popularity.  So, blasting every blog’s comment boxes with links to your site is a brute-force way to game that system (except the smart engineers at Google have weighted PageRank with the “quality” of the linking page and a whole host of other trade-secrets).  Some SEO schemes appear also to develop trees of “link farms” to improve “quality.”  But, this is just an arm-chair assessment.

Anyhow, the upshot is that there are a lot of keywords and links embedded in SEO spam.  The keywords generally reflect what’s offered for sale and they seem to reflect typical black and gray market goods—counterfeit designer clothing (Ugg boots are the informal favorite in my spam tin, with sports jerseys a distant second), pornography, and dubious medical products and home remedies (“tattoo removal creams” was a recent example).   Today, the bit bucket found a dozen or so messages such as these:

All point to the same site and contain keywords about amateur radio topics (except the SEO one at top).  So, I can infer that one of several things happened:  1. The site owner’s site got hacked and the SEO scumbags wove their material into it to make the SEO look somehow more “legitimate.”   2. The site owner acted (paid…*shudder*) on one of those spam e-mails every domain owner receives that offer to “increase traffic to your site.”  3.  The site owner is an SEO scumbag himself.

I’m leaning toward explanation #2, since the site itself makes him sound like the Homer Simpson line, “Oh, they have the Internet on computers now?!”  Whatever the case, this is inappropriate behavior and I refuse to mention the site owner by name, callsign, or link, lest the action be successful.  It’s the equivalent of splattering up and down the band on SSB when running high power to a good antenna.  You’re a lid.

Ok, I feel better now.

LHS Episode #018

While Richard is back home in Texas, I came out to San Jose, California for a week of “geeking out.” I’m attending the O’Reilly Open Source Convention, learning all I can about Ubuntu, Open Source licensing and patents, cloud computing, system tuning and monitoring and a whole lot more. I hope to put out a couple of short supplemental podcasts for Linux in the HAM Shack giving a little insite into my experiences here and tell a little bit about what I’ve learned.

As far as Episode #018 is concerned, Richard and I tackled a few questions from listeners. We spent a few minutes trying to keep our thoughts to ourselves about spam e-mail, managing to fail miserably. After that, we talk about some useful ham radio and other miscellaneous add-ons for Firefox that we hope our listeners will find useful. And when no other topics present themselves, our well-oiled machine moves onto an in-depth look at the virtual keyboard and mouse controller called Synergy.

We hope everyone enjoys this edition of the podcast and feels compelled to send in their comments, questions and suggestions for future episodes. Also, don’t forget to follow us individually and as a podcast on Twitter, and make sure to leave your audio comments at +1-888-455-0305 so we can include them in upcoming shows.

73 de Russ and Richard


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