Thursday, October 29, 2015

Of Spammers and Derelict Sites

(Image by Seraphmx)

 Last week I discovered the Reading List on my blog's administration page was overrun by Indonesian gambling sites. 

In response, I changed my password and filed a complaint with Google, who owns and runs Blogger.
The gambling spam was still in my Reading List the following day, so I fired-off another complaint to Google.

On the morning of the third day, the spam was gone, so I thought my problems were over.

But then a couple days later, I discovered two spam posts from the same Indonesian gambling sites.

This time I Googled "Spam found on Blogger Reading List."  Fortunately, I found a woman who had the same problem two years ago.

The first person to respond told her that the problem wasn't her blog, but one or more of the blogs she had on her reading list.  Spammers hijacked one of the blogs she was following and was using to spam other blogs.

It was like facehuggers infesting a derelict spaceship.

(Image:  The derelict ship in "Alien," found on Electric Shadow)

The recommended solution was to find the infected blog and delete it from her Reading List. 

I was following over 100 blogs.

Was I reading them every day?

No, of course not, but they were blogs I was interested in and would check out some of them when the mood struck me.

So I scrolled through my list.

I found five that were infected.  

However, I didn't just delete the five infected ones--I deleted over 40.  Some of them were from close friends and family.

These blog owners hadn't posted in anywhere from 1-5 years.  I figured sooner or later, these "cyber derelicts" would be too inviting for facehugger/spammers.

There were some I hated deleting, but I didn't want to run the risk of being spammed, or worse, passing along viruses.

(This Halloween-appropriate image found on The Richest: The 10 Most Dangerous Computer Viruses Ever)

Now I scroll down my Reading List every day I log on and scan for facehugger/spammers.


Kris Marquardt said...

That is something I should do as well. I know that there are more than a few blogs that I follow that haven't posted anything in well over a year.

Ted Henkle said...

I usually check the links I present on the "user page" of my blog, but up until last week, I hadn't thought of scanning all the blogs on my own admin page's Read List.
From what I've seen, if a blogger hasn't posted in a year, they've most likely stopped posting altogether. I don't want to lead any readers to dead links.
Now, it's more imperative that I don't expose readers to spammers, or worse.
Thanks for commenting!