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April 6, 2010

Cloaking Hack Puts Spam In Your WordPress Search Engine Results

Since some days a rather nasty hack has been going round in the WordPress community. I actually noticed it myself not that long when I googled for ‘Chris Pearson‘ and what I saw in the results was… shall we say ‘interesting’?

Prozac, Levitra, Lexapro? Had Chris sold the ‘Best Damn Blog on the Planet’, AKA Pearsonified? I went to check out Chris’ blog but no. No Prozac, Levitra or anything else of suspicious nature to be found there. Just your regular well-tuned Pearson content. I even looked in the source code and a quick search for known brands ended empty. I left again, having long forgotten already why I googled Chris in the first place.

Now it seems though that this hack is making the rounds and becoming more and more popular. Leland Fiegel from Themelab first reported about it on first reported about it on the Themelab blog, more than a month ago already. Afterwards the issue was covered over at the WP Tavern forums but no solution has been found so far. Even the WordPress Lead Developer, Mark Jaquith, is left clueless and hopes to solve the issue ASAP. read more

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November 3, 2009

Facebook spammer gets $711m damages bill, may face jail

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In a ruling that’s more about a point of principle than money, a California judge has ordered “Spam King” Sanford Wallace to pay Facebook $711m in damages for the reams of spam messages sent via the service.

What made these messages particularly insidious is that they were sent from hacked accounts, attaching a superficial level of trust because they appeared to come from friends.

Wallace and his associates were also banned from accessing Facebook, though given how devious spammers and hackers can be, this would seem to be a difficult ruling to enforce. read more

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September 21, 2009

Will Google Make reCAPTCHA Even Better?

Google have acquiredrecaptcha_logo.gif reCAPTCHA, the CAPTCHA spam stopping service that gives you a visual presentation of words scanned out of public domained books. You know the kind, that nasty image where you have to struggle to read the letters you have to input in a field to validate that you aren’t a spam bot. I like reCAPTCHA and use them when CAPTCHA functionality is needed, a necessary evil sometimes, but no universal solution nonetheless.

Maybe Google can make it work even better? After all, they have a huge amount of content to pull from thanks to Google Books, maybe that can help? Personally I doubt it, Google hints to why they are in fact buying reCAPTCHA in the announcement post (bold added by yours truly):

So we’ll be applying the technology within Google not only to increase fraud and spam protection for Google products but also to improve our books and newspaper scanning process.

That being said, I remain slightly optimistic that Google can make reCAPTCHA a better solution when a CAPTCHA is needed.

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July 17, 2009

Beware Fake Retweets

Filed as Guides with 1 comment

Personalities on Twitter are being hijacked to spread spam, scams and malware – look out! read more

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May 27, 2009

Beware Twitter Phishers!

Filed as Guides with 1 comment

One of the best aspects of the Twitter toolset is the fact the team allowed external programmers access to the service so that 3rd party applications and tools could be created. The downside of course is that not everyone has end users best interests at heart, and therefore there are trojan tools out there aiming just to grab your user account details for their own nasty ends … read more

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May 1, 2009

Avoiding the Sleaze on Twitter

Filed as Guides with 2 comments

Every day now I am hearing about the latest “revolutionary, automated, turn Twitter into an ATM cash machine autopilot make money in your underpants system” and it is making me sick. What can we do about it? read more

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March 2, 2009

Is Blog Searching Dead?

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When I first started blogging over three years ago, blog search engines including Technorati and Google Blog Search were my favorite tools for keeping on top of who was talking about my topics, who was linking to my site and finding posts to comment on and offer help to.

However, over the years, the usefulness of these services have dwindled to nearly nothing. Where once nearly every great tip or connection came from either a Technorati Watchlist or a Google RSS feed, now I seem to get the best results from Twitter and more targeted searches.

The days of punching in a few keywords into Technorati and getting a stream of useful results is over. What follows now is a kludge of spam, off-topic posts and other noise that has to be sifted through to find the few grains of great content.

If blog searching isn’t dead, it certainly is very ill and it is time that something is done to fix it. read more

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February 19, 2009

Spammers continue to thwart Hotmail’s CAPTCHA system: fake email and blog accounts abound

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The news came through a couple of days ago that Microsoft’s Live Hotmail CAPTCHA system has yet again been compromised by spammers.

The method works by using an army of zombie PCs (those that have been compromised by malicious software and can be remotely controlled) and a remote computer server to handle image decoding.

It’s not the first time Microsoft’s system has been compromised, and it likely won’t be the last. Other online accounts aren’t immune either. Spammers need lots of fake accounts in order to send emails and publish splogs. read more

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December 15, 2008

Email Contact and Blogs

For most bloggers, email is one of their most important tools. Whether it is a means of receiving feedback beyond the regular comment form, a method of obtaining new clients/advertisers or just a way of getting tips for future posts, most bloggers enjoy being available via email.

The question though is how to do it? Anyone with an email address is acutely aware of the high levels of email spam still being spent out, well after Bill Gates promised the problem would be solved, and don’t seek to invite any more of it or have legitimate mail lost in existing spam filters.

Bloggers that want to invite email communication have a serious challenge trying to open the doors to their readers without inviting a deluge of pharmaceutical and scam emails as well. There are techniques that can reduce the problem, but no perfect solutions. Instead, one has to find the answer that works best for them read more

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November 24, 2008

Would You Tweet Spam Friends To Pay The Rent? (Be-A-Magpie)

Filed as News with 3 comments

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Just when you thought you saw the last of the PayPerPost copycats (who reincarnated themselves into IZEA), it looks like another company wants to pay users to insert various ads within their Twitter stream.

(Be-A-Magpie) Advertisers create campaigns providing a message and some keywords. Matching twitterers are selected, costs are calculated based on # of followers and hotness of the topic. Ads will be blended into the message stream: 5 tweets, one ad, 5 tweets, one ad…

Ironically Be-A-Magpie seems to be following the initial footsetps of IZEA by not requiring users to provide disclosure or even warn twitter followers that the tweet is an ad (say for example by posting [SPONSORED] within the tweet). read more

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