Archive for June, 2004

Abuse

I’ve been on a blogging sabatical for the past 6 weeks, as I’ve just been too busy between work and home to keep up with my usual online time, be it reading, posting to this blog, or spare-time coding. I’ve been trying to check my email daily, to keep an eye open for comments to the blog, especial comment spam. I usually have to clean up a piece or two once a week, which takes about a minute to remove, and a minute to IP ban the poster. No big deal; just the unfortunate price of having a blog these days.

Today I had the rare treat of feeling like an A-list blogger. Not because of site traffic or inbound links, but because of blog spam. I had 50 spam comments posted to this site today – that’s an average of about 1 for every 3 posts on the whole site. I can’t tell you how special I feel.

For now, I have disabled both the posting and viewing of all comments on this site until I’ve had a chance to clean up the mess. This is one case where Blosxom’s simplicity works against me. Each story’s comments are stored in a separate file, in a directory structure that mirrors the category hierarchy of the site. So to clean up the mess, I’ll need to download the whole comments tree, check each file, and re-upload it.

Before I put anything back online, I intend to review the list of IPs involved, which I have not done yet (I wanted to shut things down before they got worse). I do log the IP address for every comment posted, but I also want to take a look at my server log. Unfortunately, I can only view a portion of it via my host’s web interface, and I won’t be able to download a tarball of today’s log until tommorow. I suspect that there will be a number or IP addresses involved, suggesting a coordinated attack, quite possibly using compromised machines. If you aren’t running a virus package and a malware filter (such as Adaware), just do the rest of us a favor and unplug your computer from the web right now. Go on, do it.

To those of you still online, who don’t post spam to this site, sorry for the rant and the partial down-time. To those of you who post spam to this site or others, [list of violent suggestions omitted – some of us actually have principles].