Referrer Spam – The End is Nigh?

As I have posted before, there are Referrer Spammers around nowadays, the idea to pollute Blog referrer-logs with URLs that some third-party wants to advertise, in the hope of bumping the latter’s pagerank in Google, etc.

I don’t publish my referrer logs, so this information gets black-holed from the point of the spammer; they are, quite literally, wasting both my time/bandwidth, and theirs, too.

Skimming my privately-held referrer logs, I am finding various URLs for sites that – when you access their root pages – claim to be UNDER CONSTRUCTION; most common amongst these are:

(urls mildly munged to deny them the benefit)

  • www.xopy.c0m/friendslinks.php –
  • www.psnarones.0rg
  • www.linkerdome.c0m/ae.php

The latter – IIRC – tells you how celver they are to have trapped you with a referrer-spam, and look! see how effective this is! why don’t you try it too!?! or somesuch.

The first two claim to be UNDER CONSTRUCTION, and this makes my hypothesise that they are honeypots of a sort, respectively researching whether Deep-URLs (“/friendslinks.php”) or merely Root-URLs (“/”) are most effective methods of Referrer-Spamming, plus also providing a check to see which blogs are the most valuable ones to be worth spamming.

In short: I hypothesise that the referrer-spammers are now doing ROI (“Return On Investment”) calculations.

Here’s hoping they find it unviable.

Llandegley International Airport

To quote [www.guardian.co.uk] :-

Just outside Crossgates on the A44 is a large notice which proclaims: “Llandegley International Airport, 2.5 miles”. However, at Llandegley there are only low mountains and lightly wooded hills, among which it would be difficult to land even a light aircraft. Does anyone have an explanation?
AG Price, Oldbury, Midlands.

I’ve been past this sign many times in the past few years – it looks very professional, in the correct font for a roadsign, and currently advertises:

Terminals 1 and 3 ; Terminal 2 Under Construction

…which will be a deeply resonant concept for anyone else who (like me) lives in the catchment area for LHR.

I finally thought to feed it into Google, yielding [www.llandegleyinternational.com] :-

Our Mission

We wish to inspire people to soar above the mundane, the rational and the predictable. We are in the business of expanding your horizons and encouraging you to explore new worlds – worlds that were previously unimagined.

If you are among the small but increasing number people who have seen the Llandegley sign and wondered what it was all about, that process has already begun for you. […]

Flights of fancy from the heart of Wales

Click on the Activities and News links, to put it all in context.

The funny thing is, I am pretty certain there is a small glider airstrip somewhere nearby…

Conversations with Websense

Regarding my previous posting, here’s a the exchange that went down last night, edited for HTML and to remove excessive inclusion of old text.

For some reason, the word arbitrary is stuck in my head, but I can’t fault the speed of their (admittedly faintly impersonal-feeling) response, or their apparent willingness to accomodate my (erm) attitude.

The below definitely does drive home a requirement to demand complete clarity regarding Websense’s position, since just because a “website” is categorised in one matter does not apparently mean that they change classifications for other sub-directories.

Perhaps more people should contact them requesting justification when such blocks are encountered?

Note also, the apparent Power of Google!

Response 1:

From: databasechange@websense.com
Subject: RE: Suggest a Change to the Websense URL Database
Date: 14 December 2004 00:50:08 GMT
To: alecm@…

Hello,

Thank you for writing to Websense.

The site you submitted has been reviewed. We have changed the categorization for http://www.crypticide.com/users/alecm/ to Personal Websites. The update should be available in the next publication of the database.

Thank you for your assistance.

The Websense Database Services Staff

Challenge 2:

From: alecm@…
Subject: Re: Suggest a Change to the Websense URL Database
Date: 14 December 2004 00:51:51 GMT
To: databasechange@websense.com

Thank you for your assistance.

Thank you for your prompt response; will that also apply to all other subdirectories, please?

-alec

Response 2:

From: databasechange@websense.com
Subject: RE: Suggest a Change to the Websense URL Database
Date: 14 December 2004 01:01:34 GMT
To: alecm@…

Hello,

Thank you for writing to Websense.

We have also classified http://www.crypticide.com/users/alecm/download/ under the category Freeware/Software Download and http://www.crypticide.com/users/alecm/security/ under Hacking. All other subdirectories should be correctly filtered under Personal Websites.

Thank you for your inquiry,

The Websense Database Services Staff

Challenge 3:

From: alecm@…
Subject: Re: Suggest a Change to the Websense URL Database
Date: 14 December 2004 01:14:01 GMT
To: databasechange@websense.com

Hello again! Thank you once more for your prompt response to my last mail.

We have also classified http://www.crypticide.com/users/alecm/download/ under the category Freeware/Software Download and http://www.crypticide.com/users/alecm/security/ under Hacking. All other subdirectories should be correctly filtered under Personal Websites.

Putting “www.crypticide.com/users/alecm/security/” under “Hacking”? As opposed to “Security”?

Given that the software therein is all academically/educationally oriented, including what is considered the world’s defacto Unix Password Integrity tester, as evidenced by many of the links in the following:

http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=alec+muffett&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en&btnG=Search

…although some better software does now exist, I would appreciate it if you could kindly explain why it is that you would justify describing that directory’s content as “Hacking” as opposed to “IT Security”?

Such would be of great interest to myself, in both professional and academic capacities.

Many thanks,

– alec

Response 3:

From: databasechange@websense.com
Subject: RE: Suggest a Change to the Websense URL Database
Date: 14 December 2004 02:25:58 GMT
To: alecm@…

Hello,

Thank you for writing to Websense.

We have changed the categorization for http://www.crypticide.com/users/alecm/security/ to Freeware/Software Downloads. The update should be available in the next publication of the database.

Thank you for your assistance.

The Websense Database Services Staff

personal news

well my dad’s going into hospital to get a blockage in his leg artery checked-out; details are still sketchy, facts even sketchier because getting info out of the parentals is like drawing teeth.

i am making a personal bet on mild dvt brought on as a complication of late-onset diabetes, but will know more, soon enough.

Ooh! Dell Dollies!

Dell, Gates and Ellison, with strings attached! Oh my, the puns are legion… [www.delltechforce.com] <—- Go Look!

US allows use of evidence gained by torture

well, this sucks: [www.csamuel.org]

The ABC (the Australian one of course) is reporting that the US will permit the use of evidence gained by torture against individuals at Guantanamo Bay. [www.abc.net.au]

Deputy associate Attorney-General, Brian Boyle, has told the District Court in Washington DC, that the Guantanamo review panels are allowing such evidence.

This appears to be an implicit acknowledgement of the practice of rendering prisoners to countries that do practice torture in return for their confessions, even though obtaining evidence under torture is illegal in the US itself (though the US refuses to sign up to a system allowing inspections of prisons). The allegations about this behaviour are not new, but this new admission is still quite a horrible relevation.

More links, etc, at [www.csamuel.org]

“Railway Children” for the new millennium

An idea that came up in discussion with a friend / cynical-former-eng-lit-student last night: an update of The Railway Children with a darker twist that is more in keeping with Government’s desire to keep us all in fear modern sensibilities.

Three children escape an abusive family life at a caravan site – their father widely assumed to have absconded from his duties as laid-out by the CSA – by indulging in undirected creative play near a railway line. They are taken into temporary foster care by the local Social Services department for being at risk of grooming as demonstrated by their persistent attempts to interact with unknown adults who pass by in railway carriages. Their mother is assigned to attend parental awareness training.

Absconding and returning to the railway some months later, and witnessing a landslip due to subsidence caused by a unmaintained mineshaft closed during the Thatcher regime, the eldest girl is tragically electrocuted by the live rail whilst trying to halt a train that will never come, because the line was closed weeks previously, due to lack of government bailout for mismanaged private enterprise.

Wendy Richard stars, as the mother; whoever is the current Front/Loaded/GQ bird-of-the-month will play Bobby, since Anna Friel has long outgrown the role.