Spambots

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Spambots

Postby fusordoug » Sat Oct 22, 2011 8:34 pm

Well, I clicked the wrong option to turn registration back off after getting our latest new member in, and the spam bots were out there waiting. They're gone now, or I hope they are, along with their posts and any replies to threads they started. I've had a super-busy last few days so I wasn't logging in to see this happen. Thanks to the people who gave me a heads up.
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Re: Spambots

Postby Starfire » Sun Oct 23, 2011 9:45 am

Way to go Doug - I cant understand people who impose unwelcome spam - there is no way I would support them or their products. :evil: do they not realise spam is such a turn off?
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Re: Spambots

Postby Doug Coulter » Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:44 am

Unfortunately, some people evidently don't get that -- as in "there's one born every minute".

Melvin Powers, widely credited with inventing the mail-order business, wrote a book in which he shows how he did it, for others who want to. He gets into all kinds of details like what it costs per response, what it costs per order received in various advertising media, or catalog printing and mailing, and gave some typical numbers to expect per ad view, so as to teach his students how to not try things that cannot make money, and how to judge what was the most cost-effective advertising. Whatever you think about that, his reasoning was sound in terms of what it takes to be successful in that game. In other words, if you want someone to damn, along with say Adolf Hitler and the guy who invented vacuum bubble packaging, he's the man - he invented snail mail spam, which merely transferred to the new media.

Now it s a different world in some ways - it costs very close to zero to send an email at the margin -- even if you're completely legitimate. If you're not, you can still rent a bot network pretty darned cheaply, to sign up on boards, or just direct-spam email addresses. So you can have a nearly vanishing response rate from suckers and still make good money. Using various techniques to insulate yourself reduces the risk to a spammer of being traced back - money transfer being one of the larger tricks there as it tends to be easier to follow money in a mostly-credit society. That can be overcome in most cases via human mules, or cooperative banks. A recent study revealed that almost 90% of the money generated by spammers went through just 7 banks, mostly in or around the old Soviet Union. Were those banks to refuse these transactions, most spam would disappear overnight at least for awhile, but being outside of civilized jurisdictions, that's not happening, and frankly, it would just cut out the less intelligent bad guys, not the main players, who are now heavily tied into various organized crime outfits.

This itself is cutting down spam because organized crime now has the resources and motivation to go for higher profit per contact operations - spear phishing, system intrusions, industrial espionage all pay more per strike, so they are getting a lot more input effort. Often they plan compromises in such a way that the victim either doesn't know, or has some reason to be very embarrassed and so won't report it (blackmail). With the more or less total loss of privacy these days, and the ability to data mine various sources, this is becoming easier and easier for now.
The fact that our governments are the worst offenders in the privacy game should eventually make blackmail harder, as everyone will realize that no blackmailer has any information their government doesn't have already. And I think we all see a pretty large loss of morals over time. I don't like this endgame, but that is where we seem to be heading - no one can threaten you with jail time you wouldn't already be getting, and nothing, no matter how bad/weird, embarrasses anyone anymore.

Trying to educate people in these issues usually doesn't make a lot of friends, particularly in governments, who have been breaking at least the spirit of many laws themselves - they are the worst offenders in this game. While for example, it's against the law for the government to go fishing in my bank and credit records without a warrant, it's legal for them to simply buy a copy of Visa's databases - and they have...And Facebook's, and Google's (who are probably helping them search it all in a paid relationship).

Not too long ago, it was Facebook everyone was concerned about -- after all, information about their members was their main paid for product, they were pretty upfront about that. The solution used to be "well, don't post there anything private" or just don't post there at all. This is no longer enough...they are tracking non members now too.

Not too long ago, many email provider were still responding to HELO and other requests that would let someone build up a database of all the email addresses they served. Even mine didn't get this till lately. Now that there are so many people with email, this has become trivial. It's hard to find a combination of letters and numbers that *isn't* a valid email @gmail.com (or several others) reducing the work for the spammers. They have no need to do directed advertising, since the cost per hit is effectively zero. But now they can do that too, as it's pretty easy now, in only a few minutes, to find out quite a bit about someone from very little information about them to start with, so higher profit targeted attacks are now easier. This makes it less likely that they'll accidentally spam a law enforcement agency involved in enforcing the rules, what little of them there are. And these days, rather than bust the perps, they tend to "turn" them to working doing things the government themselves can't do themselves legally. Conficker as a national security weapon comes to mind, along with other things. Why put the enemy in jail if you can get them to do the crimes you want done for you - with deniability on top?

As long as there's one born every minute, and our education system does not teach anyone anything other than how to be a good little wage-slave-sheep, we will have this. If people generally understood what it takes to run a business rather than just work for one, a lot of this would go away. I don't see it happening soon. And I don't see governments changing their ways soon either. They tend to love power, and this situation tends to protect them from angry people -- if you know who is mad and doing something about it, you can nip those efforts in the bud, and if you know what people are thinking, you know what lies to tell at election time (assuming the votes even get counted, sort of doubtful these days). The war on terrorism is an utter sham, it's really an excuse, a false flag, for setting up systems to better repress one's own people with minimal effort and cost, worldwide. If anyone is terrorizing people, it's the people who search and grope at the airports, the people who intercept your email, and put together a computer database of your whole life. And as it happens, this may not be primarily our elected officials, but the bureaucracy under them who gets the data first. It was quite obvious here that when "Total Information Awareness" program kicked in (despite being voted down in our congress) that suddenly these bureaucrats got all they wanted with very low key asking, from our elected officials. Not one of them isn't dirty, and the bureaucrats know which and what - blackmail between pieces of our own government.

This isn't tinfoil hat stuff. I have pictures of the huge installations by Narus and others in all our major telephone switchpoints, knowledge of how the CALEA act is implemented and so on. It of course doesn't make the news much - blackmail again. But the result is chilling and would be more so if more people knew that 100% of their communications are intercepted, for traffic pattern analysis at least, and computer speech recognition and pattern matching in quite a lot of cases. And it's not just USA doing this - it's pretty much every government in the developed world. And if you catch them at it, and find a willing judge, they claim "national security issues" and that is that. When I worked in very secret capacity for our government, the real revelation was how boring most all the secrets were. Nearly all things that got classified had nothing to do with keeping "the enemy" from knowing, but a lot to do with covering up malfeasance and incompetence - eg losers trying to cover themselves so they could not be "blackmailed" or demoted from their positions of power. I assume that hasn't changed since I left. With the observed general moral decay -- "do good" being turned into "don't get caught" I have reason to believe it's only gotten worse.

Since everyone breaks some laws, of course they don't just put everyone in jail - there'd be no one left. The insidious power this gives them is used for selective enforcement to remove all threats to the status quo instead. Sad, but that's our world these days. That's one of the real reasons for the class warfare, and the 1% vs the 99%. This is the battleground that's really being fought on. Money and power put you in that 1% (you can slide the numbers around, but it's few vs many).

Now, since the only people who seem to want positions of power are psychopaths and sociopaths, and when we 'elect' them we get to choose only from among that type, well, enough voting for the lesser of two evils finally winds us up with nothing but evil, particularly at the top, and here we are today. I would also observe from experience running some small companies that it's the people with the least morals and scruples that get ahead, unless you are very dedicated against letting that happen - they are pretty good at keeping their badness hidden until its too late. I can point to many large corporations where that effort has never been made, and that's where quite a lot of the power flows from - that other golden rule - them with the gold...makes the rules.

So, we have the world we have, and we don't have angels to work with. So the trick is - how to let that affect you as little as possible, and get on with doing good things. At this point, I kind of doubt any gentle evolutionary change is possible, but you don't have to join the bad guys (for now), either.
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Re: Spambots

Postby Doug Coulter » Sun Oct 23, 2011 3:58 pm

If this is an example of what's made public, and more like it daily, you can imagine what they don't. You can't make this stuff up. Or at least, there's no need. Of course, this sort of thing never, ever comes up when budgets are cut, and the reasons are fairly obvious.
http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-10-dar ... works.html
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Re: Spambots

Postby Jerry » Mon Oct 31, 2011 7:00 pm

You really ought to install ReCaptcha, it will stop the bots in their tracks, well for now at least. We had it on our forum and no bots got though. Though you still get the manual spammers in, but they are few and far between.

There was a recent study on different human verification systems recently:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-20127 ... /?ttag=fbw
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Re: Spambots

Postby chrismb » Tue Nov 01, 2011 3:30 am

If it were like junk mail then I suspect I might not mind so much (as in, 'sigh' rather than get angry).

But it isn't. Why do these spambots and junk email always proffer a limited set of products, such as selling viagra or penis enlargements, or are from the daughter of a nigerian multi-milionare in need of my money laundering skills?
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Re: Spambots

Postby Doug Coulter » Tue Nov 01, 2011 9:37 am

See above - people stupid enough to believe and want those things are the only ones who respond to spam! Fantastic marketing tailored to the market.
Now, snail mail spam is welcomed here, especially around the heating season - burns great in the woodstove.
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Re: Spambots

Postby Jerry » Tue Nov 01, 2011 1:31 pm

Burns great, but too much clay in the paper leaves a lot of ash.
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Re: Spambots

Postby Doug Coulter » Thu Nov 03, 2011 2:00 pm

True - the big catalogs on clay paper I just put under or alongside the logs, and let them burn for a day or two, slowly. They do leave lots of ash, as does some of the better firewood - locust, which sequesters so much silica inter-cell that it makes sparks off the chainsaw when cut - but burns like one might imagine the hotter parts of hell.

You might be right on recaptcha - here's an interesting link to that issue: http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-11-sta ... codes.html
I'll have to see if our ISP permits it without losing support - they actually have good support (real humans on the line who actually know what they're doing), I'd hate to ditch that.
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Re: Spambots

Postby Jerry » Sat Nov 05, 2011 4:13 am

Shouldn't be an issue. Its just a downloadable module for php-bb.
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