thepeopleseason: (freakin' duck)
I just received a call at my home number from some company that didn't bother to explain why it was calling, nor did it indicate any means of getting myself removed from its calling list. The message basically said, "This is not a sales call; please don't hang up. We have a very important message for you. Please return our call to 770.524.8767 or toll-free 1.800.456.4601."

I went ahead and called from a phone here at work, and was connected to someone. "Hi; you just left a message on my machine and I'd like to know what's going on."

She replied, "Can you give me the number we called?"

"I don't feel comfortable giving you that information."

"Ok." <CLICK>


I just reported them to the FTC.
thepeopleseason: (grand)
I've always thought that spammers and other junk mail purveyors deserve grievous bodily harm. Spammers who prey on the loneliness of others, however, deserve their own special fucking hell.
thepeopleseason: (freakin' duck)
Today, you sent me the following "news" under the subject "Lots of GREAT News":
3) 1.1 million e-mail addresses on 80-20's list. It is a factor of 3 increase over the 300,000 email addresses in the 2000 election.
Wow. That's pretty impressive.

Or it would be if you didn't obtain your mailing list addresses using known spammer tactics. Since I've received e-mail from you going to <myusername> at both my yahoo and hotmail accounts, plus to addresses which I last used in 1993 for posting to Usenet, I figure that threefold increase in addresses on your list are a result of either the unethical spammer practice of culling addresses from archives or the purchase of an unscrupulously-obtained list.

Either way, it means I'll nary give the 80-20 Initiative a single penny until you rebuild your address list so that it comprises only the addresses of people who actually would care to be on it.

In the meantime, I suggest you give a swift kick in the nads to your unresponsive system administrator.
thepeopleseason: (freakin' duck)
A message for the technically-uninclined:
If you're browsing around a website, and you see something that looks interesting to you, and would perhaps be interesting to your friends,

DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, ENTER THEIR E-MAIL ADDRESSES INTO ANY FORM ON THE SITE.

That's just an invite for random assbags to spam your friends with Viagra ads and Mortgage rates.

Instead, send a message with the site address to your friends--if they want to chance the spammage, it's best to leave it up to them.
thepeopleseason: (sucked)
Today, K, a former co-worker of mine messaged me out of the blue:
check this out... [some URL that I've edited out but had "osama capture" in the filename]
The last time I had heard from K was probably about two years ago, after I was laid of from Cox, so in my curiosity, I went ahead and clicked on the link and got a nondescript page.

And nothing happened.

You see, I'm running Linux at work, and those wonderfully magic things that happen when most people go to random web addresses don't always happen to me.

Which in this case would be a good thing.

See, later on, K would send me the following message:
if you get a link from me, don't click on it. it's some kind of virus
Given my natural programmer's curiosity, I went to the site with my text-based browser and found the following line:
<OBJECT ID="ShellInstaller" WIDTH=0 HEIGHT=0 CLASSID="<some-junk>" CODEBASE="http:// [a buddylinks.net web address] /ShellInstaller.cab#Version=1,0,0,001">
Knowing what I know about Windows and its ilk, I figured that the fine folks at buddylinks.net have figured out how to automatically install and run an application from a webpage--an application which runs through your buddy list and sends every person on it a message.

It occured to me that there would be a very nice and easy way of getting rid of said Internet jackasses. If you've ever installed Kazaa Lite, you might know that one of the things installed along with the program is a new Windows hosts file.

Most of the time, the internet has its own way of resolving internet addresses (it's called DNS). If your computer doesn't know what www.joewebsite.com is, it asks another computer if it knows, which can ask another, and so on sort of like that shampoo commercial, but in a more organized and hierarchical fashion. The hosts file, however, is like a personal address book of internet IP addresses--ones which might not agree with what that big hierarchical system might provide.

Your average user will never care to use or even see what's going on in the hosts file. The reason Kazaa Lite installs a new one is the kind folk who make the application have harvested a bunch of the addresses of the more annoying netizens--advertisers, popup purveyors, those kind of guys--and have pointed their addresses at your own.

How does this help? Well, unlike the U.S. Postal Service, the web works on a request basis. You tell your computer "give me google," and it finds google and downloads it. Advertisers sneak their messages in with the messages that you download, essentially piggybacking on things that you request--"hey, computer, while you're getting website A, go to website B and download other crap."

So the hosts file that Kazaa Lite installs has set most of the common "website Bs" around the world to your own address (127.0.0.1), which, if you're the average user, isn't running web server software and doesn't have advertisements. Your web browser tries to find the ad image or the pop up code, and when it fails, it just stops trying. It's like a little workaround for the popup ad problem, at least for that one ad on your computer.

How does this relate to an Instant Messenger virus?

The host file can pretty much eliminate a given offender from the internet for a single computer. Imagine, if you will, taking the domain name of a known virus purveyor (say, www.buddylinks.net), and entering it into the big hierarchical system as 127.0.0.1 or some other innocuous address. That replacement address would effectively blacklist the offending site for all the computers that trusted the DNS service of that portion of the hierarchy.

Granted, I'm neither a system administrator nor an expert in DNS, but given the proliferation of Internet assholes, I'm liking this idea more and more...
thepeopleseason: (sucked)
If you're going to send e-mail to a mass list of people, and you have a file that you'd like everyone on that list to have, do not attach the file to the e-mail--put the file on the web, and then include the weblink in the message.

Especially if the size of the file in question is over 900k...

You'd think people who write software for a living would have figured this one out by now...
thepeopleseason: (Default)
On Friday evening, as I was driving home, I looked down and was disappointed to see that I had just passed localhost (127,001 or 127.0.0.1) total miles driven in my car. Had I realized, I would have had a camera ready to stop and take a picture.

And in other news, Bob Graham, Democratic presidential candidate, just spammed my Friendster account. I doubt Howard Dean would be so un-netiquettely crass.
thepeopleseason: (recidivist)
From the UF Computer Science Department's help page on spam filtering:
Users who have spam sorted into the spam folder should run through it periodically and make sure no legitimate mail has ended up there, which does happen very occasionally. You should also check your spam folder if you want to buy any viagra online.


ETA: From CNN.com:
An Austrian extreme sports fanatic is reported to be planning further daredevil exploits after he become [sic] the first human to fly across the English Channel without an aircraft.

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February 2011

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