Things That Make Me Grumpy
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Grump Number One - Spammers
You knew that was coming. There are some excellent resources on how to deal with spam. Of the many counter-spam tactics, we use a few here:
- Poison Lists -- Give them an inch and they'll take a mile. The idea behind poisoning is that you pollute the spammers list of E-mail addresses with junk (invalid) E-mail addresses. This creates a deluge of bounces which, in theory, will generate a lot of unwanted attention for the spammer. In reality I doubt this has a great affect on the spammers as usually their ISPs don't care. Personally, I just do it because it is easy to do and is completely harmless to anything other than an automatic E-mail harvester (spambot). You can see a sample of the collection by clicking on these links. They are harmless.
Rest assured these links are peppered throughout the site. If you are not a spambot, you'll never know they are there.
Poison List One
Poison Links One
Poison Dynamic Page
- Blacklists -- Probably the most effective method for dealing with spammers if you have control over the mail server. Use the menu at the right
to see some results of blacklisting. There are also some links to the best blacklists and the configuration settings to implement them in Sendmail.
- I have a few custom rules for Spam Assassin. Nothing earth shattering but it might help give you some ideas.
- Honeypots -- There are several versions of the spam honeypot. One is an interesting experiment operated by the folks at Project Honey Pot and you can go to their site and read all about it there. Very easy to implement for the webmaster and serves all of us in the Internet community. The other version of a honeypot is exemplified by a neat little tool like Spam Cannibal which takes up some of the time and resources of the spammer.
- A new version of spamming: Referrer Spam. See our page for some addresses you might want to blacklist.
Grump Number Two - Idiot Script Kiddies
Certainly some (probably most) of the the malicious packets flying around the Internet are the result of viruses, trojans, and misconfigured machines.
However, some of this activity...isn't. That's all I'll say about that.
- Automatic Blacklisting -- Go to the Geek page to see some of our tools to blacklist trojans and hackers.
Grump Number Three - Link Pimping
This has been going on for several years, most notably in the mainstream television news media. In the U.S. this has taken a very disturbing turn in the aftermath of recent tragedies such as the Asian Tsunami and the hurricanes in the southeastern states.
Very simply, Link Pimping is when a website requests that you go their website to get to another website. This serves absolutely no purpose other than to create traffic for the first website. I suppose there is also some sanctimony and pretentious piety involved for some people. I don't have a problem with people putting target-of-opportunity links on their site but using mainstream media to redirect people through their site first is nothing short of disgusting.
- Why would I go to the Food Network website or cbs.com simply to click on a link to the Red Cross site? Why don't they simply use their air-time to tell me to go to redcross.org? Of course while I'm routed through their pimping sites I'm exposed to all their advertising and self-promoting tripe. Many of the more politically liberal sites use this as a sanctimonious ploy to "show that they care" which is thinly veiled in their own nonsense.
- A recent story on a local evening news program instructed me to go to their website to figure out how to recover any unclaimed money (these funds commonly occur when dormant or abandon bank accounts are turned over to the Government or when people die and the state has trouble locating next of kin). The on-air story was accompanied by images of television station employees sitting at computers surfing a website. So instead of simply giving me the link to the Government website -- which was surely open to the public -- they wanted me to log on to the television station's web site and enter my information there. Presumably the station's employees would "do the lookup" for me.
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Acting on Annoyance