Some time ago, I noticed the traffic on this site dropping off rapidly. Continue reading
A simple hint for email administrators everywhere. If you have a large number of users with unique sequential ID numbers, it may be tempting to use that ID as a primary email address, or an alias, but don’t do it. It’s an open invitation to spammers to target your users with the minimum of effort. Once they know one number in the sequence they can quickly find two more addresses by adding or subtracting from the first. Before long, with kinderarden maths they’ve guessed every email address and can proceed to spam them all. Today, I was automatically registered for one of Portsmouth Uni’s Google Apps accounts. It comes complete with an email address that is sequentially numbered. As a consequence, having never sent a mail with the account, and having never logged in until today, I found in my inbox, five, beautiful blinking pieces of spam. Years ago when we were setting up the email addresses for vodafone.net, the powers that be in Vodafone were really keen to have email@example.com as the email address format. We advised against it, strongly. We did sharp intakes of breath. We did furrowed brows. We did reverse psychology. Everything. The light was seen, and sanity and happiness was maintained, at least for a few months, then they did it anyway. I wonder how those vodafone.net accounts are doing now.
Right now, there’s limited information on reputable news sites regarding the earthquake/tsunami that occurred south of Samoa yesterday. To find more, I turned to Twitter (and its open source equivalent identi.ca). Disseminating live news from witnesses, moments after a major event, is the most compelling feature of such services, but both failed me. Not in the fail whale sense. Both sites were technically operating at 100% normal status. It was the content. Continue reading
It’s only 15 months since I mentioned the rocket-like acceleration of Akismet which went from a standing start to the point where it had fended off a million spam messages for its users in just 4 months. If things had continued at that pace it would have squashed a cool 5 million spams by now. Continue reading
My spam counter in Akismet has been steadily rising of late, and it’s been approaching 10,000 caught spams very quickly. Yesterday it went through 9,950 and with my average of over 100 spams per day it should have gone through the 10,000 barrier by now. But instead I’ve had about 3 spams today. Did I just find an off button for spam? Continue reading
This last few weeks the site has been very heavily hit by comment spammers hawking their usual reprobate websites and wasting internet bandwidth. Akismet has been doing a sterling job of catching this spam and not one message has made it onto the site (I wrote about Akismet’s effectiveness in the pre-launch testing previously). In the bad old days before Akismet I’d have to go through the “unmoderated comments list” in order to find the occasional real comment amidst all the spam, this is no longer necessary, which is wonderful. Comment-Spam-Nirvana has not been reached yet, however. Continue reading