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Burningbird

Variations on a nasty theme

Not long after I went to bed last night, my friendly neighborhood spammer changed the name he was using while sending his or her virus-laden emails and I woke this morning to 803 new emails with variations of failed delivery, thanks for signing up, and messages of rejection due to the presence of a virus.

I’ve pointed the new email address to the blackhole, but I’m now wondering whether this ‘attack’ is direct or indirect. Is the person using a program to generate new email addresses, while still using the same domain? Or did the person read that I had pointed the old address to blackhole, and change the name manually. There’s a world of difference between the two, and it’s bothersome not knowing which is the answer.

I guess we’ll see the ramifications from this one over time. There is a potential of the domain, yasd.com, being blacklisted though spam blacklists are usually based on IP address rather than domain names; those that operate spam blacklists know how easy it is to use someone else’s domain.

How easy is it? Go into your email and change the reply-to email address. That’s it. Of course, my kiddie hacker is also using open ports on people’s machines to send the emails so that they’re not traceable. Might even have used an open port on your machine ifyou don’t have firewall protection. How safe is your machine? How about your domain?

We talk about digital identify and protecting said identity from impersonation and theft, but I’m not sure those of you who talk about this added level of sophistication being layered on the existing infrastructure of the Net realize how problematical it is just to ensure the safety of our domains, much less our personal identification. I think in many ways that’s why I don’t join in the digital ID conversation, though it is a topic I was greatly interested in a few years back. When you realize how wide open the Internet is, and how many people connected to it have the barest understanding of what it is they’re connected to, you become amazed that the Internet is still operating.

The only reason you’re still able to read this weblog is redundancy.

My hope is that the hacker is using a generated email address and eventually, the program will move on from my domain. Or a meteor falls from the sky and lands on the hacker’s machine…and the hacker.

Categories
Burningbird

Getting hammered

Someone used a fake email address from my ‘yasd.com’ domain to send a huge spam emailing and I’m getting hammered with email rejections and mail delivery system failures.

If I find the little creep that did this, I’m going to take out that virus code someone embedded in my comments and use it to fry his machine.

Don’t send email directly to me until I send all clear. All clear. The email to the bogus email address is being directed to the email blackhole.

Update

Email is originating from spedia.com servers.

Update Two

Nope, they were victims, too. This could be an email virus. Get an email from ‘zhujil@yasd.com’, delete immediately.

Update Three:

Have forwarded all email to email blackhole, so I’m no longer getting all the responses, though my server is still getting hammered (less than if delivered, though). Question: who is email spam/virus expert in audience? I want to find out where these things originated. I’ve kept all the emails with the headers.

Last Update:

The email forwarding didn’t take at first, but is finally working. All total over a 1000 emails in a very short time. Many of the rejections were from automated virus scanning systems, so I know that the email did contain a virus.

I’m going back to bed.

Categories
Burningbird

Referrers, just for fun

The last two weeks have been long indeed, and it hit me tonight that I’m tired, and that I really need to get away from the computer. My back is doing extremely well, and I want to get out for a nice long, gentle hike. There’s also an Art Deco neighborhood somewhere in St. Lou I want to explore, and a thousand towns I haven’t seen yet.

However, before I take off for a long weekend, tonight I spent some time with my web server logs, checking out who’s visting, and what they’re looking at. Sometimes, if you don’t fixate on ‘popularity’, this can be a bit of fun.

For instance, I was inundated this week from people reaching my site while looking for directions in how to drive in ice and snow. Go ahead and do a search in Google on the words ‘how to drive in ice and snow’ and you’ll see why I had such a giggle from this one. I hope I don’t get sued.

Backtrack is very popular, which pleased me quite a bit. I can see that Talkback looks to match it, though I think that could be due to the novelty. If you pay me a dollar, I’ll tell you the most popular Backtracked sites and Talkbacked webloggers.

“Parable of the Languages” is still my most popular article, even beating out “How to Drive in Ice and Snow”. Will you forgive me if I get a little boost at how well this has done? Especially this week, seeing the numbers and the continued popularity has been balm for a battered writer’s soul. I need to post the sequel, “Parable of the Languages: The Markup Strike Back”, but I’m hesitant — you know what happens with sequels.

Anyway, new college referrals for Parable:

Swinborne University in Australia
UMBC in Maryland

The C# book chapters are surprisingly popular. Interest in C# must be picking up. I need to finish this online book. At the least, it won’t be the hassle, headache, and grief that Practical RDF has been.

My most popular page is http://burningbird.net/burningbird.rdf. Not surprising, that. My second most popular page is mt-comments.cgi. No surprise there, either. Talk talk talk, that’s us. Can’t shut us up for love nor money.

I had a visitor from Tuvalu. Hi!

Then there’s my old friends, the cryptozoologists. In case you’re curious, cyrptozoology is the study of legendary animals thought to be real, or extinct animals thought still to be alive. The practitioners call it “The Study of Hidden Animals”. What animals? Bigfoot, Nessie, and the Tasmanian Tiger to name a few. I connected up with the cryptozoology folks when I was doing research for the “Tale of Two Monsters” articles. (Research. That’s what you don’t do when you weblog.)

I still get several hits for the articles, primarily from this page. I used to get referrals from Loren Coleman, but he doesn’t have his links page anymore.

Loren Coleman is one of the leading cryptozoologists, and author of several books. I have an autographed copy of his book on Tom Slick, which is now out of print. In fact, remind me to tell you the story about Tom Slick, the Yeti, the Dali Lama, and the actor Nicolas Cage that Loren told me in emails long ago.

Why did I write an article about cryptozoology? Why not? Isn’t it fun sometimes just to let your fancy roam? Explore for the sheer joy of the exploration? So if any of you have questions about Champ, Ogopogo, or the Mothman, holler.

That wraps up my walk on vanity lane. Have a fun weekend my gang o’ friends.