The problem with GUIs is that you have nine fingers going to waste.

The Spammer Wars: a report from the front:

Date/Time Permalink: 05/04/06 05:01:32 pm
Category: General

Who knew that a cube of pink lunchmeat could be so viscous? Computer Business Review brings us word of Six Apart, the blogging service, being taken *out* by spammers who were targeting them or somebody they hosted for some reason.

Anybody who blogs shouldn't be surprised. I'm pretty smug to be self-hosted with my cozy B2Evolution software, but even at that, behind the scenes, there's a heck of a spam war going on. B2Evolution gets targeted frequently, and security is the number one topic in the B2evo forums. The saving grace of B2evo is that it's so easy to work with and the code is very well commented, so you can customize it and patch it as you go along.

First thing that hit me when I started using it was comment spam. That came to a screeching halt when I implemented my own captcha system for the comments - and if you all hate looking at it, remember that I have to use the captcha too, even when logged in to post, and I hate it as much as you do. But then, we'd hate spam worse!

I no sooner congratulated myself on eradicating comment spam when I started getting referrer spam. This is where spam sites forge page requests to your page to fool your log into thinking it got a link from that page. They do this hundreds of times, and then a link to their site comes up in your "most frequent referrers" list for their site. Ding! Google crawls all the blogs and ranks the spammer's site higher because so many pages link to it. I changed my template to quit displaying the referrers altogether, and substituted the sites I'd rather link to.

At this point, the spam war is now behind the scenes. Or so I'd thought - next I saw a bunch of direct accesses to my "display stats" page, which was still showing links to spam sites even though you couldn't get to it from the blog proper. So I changed *that* so it doesn't even display stats, and now if you'd visit the page, it gives you a redirect to your own IP number - the most devious thing I could think of to do at the time, without harming innocent bystanders. a bot trying to do hundreds of page accesses will simply jam it's own connection, while a single visitor just gets a free visit to their own front door.

You'd think there's no longer a motivation to go on now that I've cut out every possible benefit, but spammers are at the bottom of the food chain for a reason. So now I'm getting hundreds of bogus references from spammer "search" engines, directing apparent visitors for such goodies as I have no where on this site. I think this is just retaliation for my previous measures; who knows? All I know is that my private "back office" access to referrer and search statistics is worthless, because it's crammed full of spam that only I can see, anyway. "Take that, you mean blogger!"

Somebody on the B2evo forums once posed a question - does anybody actually make money this way? I've always wondered that, too. So I went searching and discovered - I'd link to them to show you, but of course don't want to send them business - a flock of sites out there that *sell* spamming techniques and software as get-rich-quick schemes! These sites sound exactly like those Amway/pyramid scheme sales pitches you hear... and are hopefully possessed of sufficient brain to avoid. A promise of massive riches is made, if you'll only send modest payment for their package plan...

So there you have it - nobody makes money except for a few scam artists getting gullible idiots to invest in a prospect reachable only by spending their whole lives flooding the internet with worthless garbage. This gives some comfort to think, as we go on with the hassle of deleting and blocking and filtering day to day, that the person who sent it is some gullible fool goaded into betting the farm and is now failing to recomp their investment. Of course, I get *extra* pleasure out of being a programmer at times like these; I get a good workout every now and then!

The battle rages on!

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