Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Spammers Don't Like Anti-Spammers

Spammers don't like us. Shocking? We are hurting these poor business men pushing illegal pills, penis enlargers, porn, etc. We are depriving them of being able to feed their families (and buy fancy cars) because they can't find any real jobs. I guess if you put it that way, we should all quit and let them continue their attempt to ruin the internet.

Anyway, to read a bunch of Russian spammers crying about how they are doing nothing wrong and we should leave them alone, check out the comments on Spamhuntress' KLIK Media GmbH registrar post. Currently 64 comments in four days and growing fast.

Update: Spamhuntress has posted some commentary on the reason some spammers don't see what they are doing as wrong. She says it is cultural differences. They don't see screwing Americans and other westerners as wrong because we are all so rich. I agree that is a reason behind a lot of spam, but certainly not all. There are plenty of slimy western spammers out to get rich at the expense of others as well, they are just jerks.

Friday, September 08, 2006

What's That User-Agent

I found an odd User Agent in my site stats and attempted to look it up. It was EchO! and it was eating up a lot of bandwidth for a bot. It doesn't seem to be a very common bot so Google wasn't a lot of help, but a few results down I found a List of User-Agents. They didn't really have much info on EchO! so I kept looking and found User Agent Database, The Web Robots Database and finally Bots vs Browsers. None of which even listed it, but do look like useful repositories.

I found it odd that I could not find the User-Agent in my log file, but assumed I must be doing something wrong. The only "echo" I found in my logs was BonEcho, the development code name for Firefox 2.0, which are mostly my own hits. A bit more investigation lead me to realize the bot AWStats was reporting as EchO! was me. No wonder it was taking up so much bandwidth and not accessing robots.txt. My server is using an older version of AWStats which was released before Mozilla started using the BonEcho name, I presume that is not a problem in newer releases.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Phishing Victim and Response

The wife of the owner of DreamHost.com fell for an email phishing scam recently. It wasn't a particular clevar scam and she knew to be careful but getting money back from the IRS was too much of a draw. This just goes to show you how vulnerable people are to phishing. You don't have to be stupid to fall for them. The really interesting part of the article though is what he did after finding this out.

Secure Browzar

There is a long post about how this browser may not be all that it seems. It was touted as having no install and that it did not save information from visited websites. According to that post, digg comments, another post and another, it is a simple IE wrapper and appears to do little to improve privacy against a knowledgable user. It became really popular all the sudden this week and if this is true a lot of people could be installing it and getting a false sense of security. It may be effective against casual snooping, but it isn't going to protect your browsing habits from the FBI or your hacker friend.

Clearly people really want privacy and security, but Firefox already offers built in options to do that. Plus for even more privacy you can get Portable Firefox and/or the Stealther extension.

I have not tried Browzar to confirm this for myself, but if you do you should know what you are getting or not getting. As one of the above posts said, this could be just a mistake or a few bugs and future versions will work as advertised, but for now it doesn't appear to be as good as it sounds.

Update: BBC News did a story pointing out that many believe Browzar to be adware and that it doesn't work. In it, the developers respond that it is not adware and that they want to fix anywhere the browser is leaving behind traces.