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Jul 29 2010

Spinster aunt cries for help

It has been brought to my attention that IBTP has become infested with much adware or spyware or chumpware of some sort. Several blamers have written in to observe that this proliferation of tracking cookies makes it look like I am “monetizing” the site. I assure you, this could not be further from the truth. I am 100% against monetizing, both the word and the act.

As the veteran blamer knows all too well, I am not much good with this sort of thing, so if anybody has an idea where it might have come from, and how I might cleanse my code, I would be much obliged. But for the lovagod hurry! This is seriously chapping my entire hide.

Here’s a list compiled by kindly and thoughtful blamer awhirlinlondon. Thanks, Whirli!

__________________________________

Cookie:[myname]@atdmt.com (This is from http://www.atlassolutions.com/ – slogan: Do you know everything you need to know about your audience? Do you have all the expertise you need to succeed? What if you could generate more revenue simply by forecasting smarter?)

(All follow the same format so will just list the companies/acronyms)

@revsci.net (http://revsci.net/ – Audience targeting)

@sixapart.112.2o7.net (“2o7.net and omtrdc.net are domains used by Adobe to help provide portions of its Adobe… products. Specifically, this domain is used by Adobe to place cookies, on behalf of its customers, on the computers of visitors to customers’ selected websites.” You have a general one from this place as well as one from the cable news company Msnbc and one from MSN Portal.)

@specificclick.net (No vendor website available, but I did find a link that describes these as “infections” – http://paretologic.com/resources/definitions.aspx?remove=specificclick%20cookie IBTP has 2 cookies from this group.

@mediaplex.com (“…provides innovative technology solutions for advertisers and agencies to enable them to meet their specific business requirements and consistently exceed campaign and revenue goals.”)

@fastclick.net (Now owned by valueclick. More online advertising. IBTP has two cookies from this bunch)

@trafficmp.com (Traffic Marketplace – “…our next-generation targeting solution combines anonymous user interest, behavior, demographic and psychographic information from more than 600,000 proprietary web sites… We’ll find your audience, no matter where they are across our network.”)

@xiti.com (AT Internet.com – Behavioral analysis, viral expansion, ROI, i.e. more of the same.)

@tribalfusion.com (“Fully customized advertising solutions.”)

@advertising.com (more of the same.)

@ads.pointroll.com (Digital Marketing Solutions)

@quantserve.com (Quantcast Measurement Service – this one looks fucking nasty. Here’s the link: http://www.quantcast.com/)

@traveladvertising.com (Is what it sounds like it is.)

@questionmarket.com (Managed by Safecount.net. More advertising.)

@statcounter.com (“A free yet reliable invisible web tracker, highly configurable hit counter and real-time detailed web stats. Insert a simple piece of our code on your web page or blog and you will be able to analyse and monitor all the visitors to your website in real-time!) I would imagine that you/Wordpress installed this one – you have two cookies from them.

@apmebf.com (More advertising.)

@realmedia.com (and again.) You’ve also got one from @network.realmedia.com

@adviva.net, put out by Specificmedia.co.uk.

@ad.yieldmanager.com

55 comments

  1. Schnee

    Here’s my helpful suggestion. Dumb down the website. Leave no trace of cleverly-written blameful pieces that Blamers keep coming back for and then, voilà! After about a year and a half, no annoying chumpware company will be wanting to bring you their cookies.
    On t’other hand…..

  2. ivyleaves

    I suspect the Google search tool. Google ads are everywhere, and you recently refurbished it for searching here, which could have changed its behavior.

  3. ivyleaves

    Adding, I don’t have any of these cookies, but I block 3rd party cookies so I won’t get them.

  4. yttik

    I’m getting no cookies, but I’ve got lots blocking software so I probably won’t. The first place I’d look is Google, because they’re notorious. I’m guessing your Google custom search bar is leaving you little presents, kind of like cats do.

  5. awhirlinlondon

    As I wrote in my follow-up email, the first thing to do is to talk to WordPress, the people hosting your site. It is their responsibility to protect you and the Blametariat from this kind of thing.

    For those of you who don’t know what “tracking cookies” are: they are a little piece of text stored in your browser memory. They are not necessarily bad – in fact they’re necessary for some very good things, such as IBTP knowing who you are (or rather, what your IP address is) so that once you’ve been approved, the website knows to publish your blaming rather than sending it to the moderation queue. On the other hand, they’re also used to track your perambulations around the net so that corporations can market to you more effectively. I do not like this, nor, I imagine, do/would you.

    Cookies are seldom actively dangerous, because they are not generally executable. In years’ past there were such dangers as “cookie replay attacks” – wherein, for example, if you went to your bank, the associated cookie would store private information about your account that could be captured and “replayed” by hacker Evil Jemima pretending to be you and consequently, for example, emptying your account into hers. We know better now – this really is no longer a concern.

    Antivirus programs should pick them up and eliminate them, but I never noticed any of the 28 cookies on this site until I installed Symantec’s Norton AV program a month or so ago. (Comodo didn’t find them, nor did Kaspersky, both of which are otherwise quite good.) I’d recommend it highly and would provide the link, but y’all know better than to click on links, right? (Seriously, don’t do it unless you’re absolutely positive that you know and trust the source – and although I swear that I’m trustworthy, you have no reason to trust me. I might have been hanging out at IBTP, improving my credibility entirely in order to at some point be able entice the Blameatariat to the site that I created that looks like Symantec’s, but is in fact mine – entirely so that I could drop Trojans on all of your machines. Or keystroke loggers. Or any of a number of nasty things. Seriously. Don’t Do It. A few weeks’ investment in becoming a “trusted” member of a particular blog site is trivial and if the blog had a large audience, would be well worth it to a hacker.)

    On the other hand, it’s nice to know, I guess, that we’re considered a desirable audience for the megatheocorporatocracy.

    Snort.

  6. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Our internetian security is supposedly tighter than a gnat’s @sshole so a lot of the dumb stuff doesn’t get through. Some potentially interesting content gets blocked, though.

  7. iforgotmyname

    looks like much of it is sneaking in through scripts embedded in the ‘share this’ widget. It can probably be deactivated in the WP addons admin panel. There is also some extraneous stuff coming from gravatar.com, which is a built in WP feature that I’m uncertain how to disable.

  8. Shelly

    Schnee,

    Alas, that will not suffice. I have three faithful readers on a good day, and I’ve still managed to be infected by this crap.

    Jill,

    Even more depressing, getting rid of the crapware involved upgrading WordPress, which was a fucking nightmare of epic proportions. Alternately, one can remove everything from one’s WordPress folder, then re-upload clean files. But if you do that in lieu of upgrading, you’re just putting that chore off until another day.

    Also, at the risk of stating the obvious, change your password.

  9. humanbein

    It’s the ceaseless, enormous, unmanageable flood of crap out there that makes me feel safer. As long as it’s not fucking up my computer, I could care less about being tracked when I know for sure there’s nobody with real intelligence paying the slightest bit of attention, even if they’re told to do so. I refuse to be afraid of being cyber-raped by digital detritus as omnipresent as electricity itself.

  10. awhirlinlondon

    Ivyleaves, Yttik and Antoinette – with all of the respect in the world, what I’m saying is that my box really is tighter than the proverbial tick’s asshole. It has to be or men would be hacking me constantly so as to make me look foolish – lord knows they’ve tried, the latest of which two weeks ago. (One of the zillion shitty down-sides of the field I’m in, though it has its great advantages as well, not the least of which is the look on so many faces when the person they hire based on her initials-only-plus-last-name resume turns out to be female.)

    What I’m saying is that none of the cookie-blocking, none of the A/V programs, none of the anything that I used prior to this – and they still couldn’t damn hack or poison me– picked this stuff up, which really shocked me. Just because your tightly protected system hasn’t detected it doesn’t mean that it’s not there. In your case, Antoinette, what they’re likely worrying about is serious malware – Trojans, keyloggers etc.- not tracking cookies, which are irritatating, outrageous even, but in terms of the security of your system, benign.

    It would seem that WordPress may have a serious problem that they need to deal with, but please understand that WP is not unusual. Approximately 75% of websites are vulnerable to either (or both) cross-site scripting and SQL injection, including until recently, believe it or not, the NYPD– as well as thousands upon thousands of others.

    In terms of upgrading WordPress – Shelly, you also may be right, but upgrading seems to me to be an unlikely solution. If WP has found security vulnerabilities, they will have fixed them. It’s a coding issue that once done / paid for, can be incorporated without great cost.

  11. Shelly

    WordPress doesn’t fix problems retroactively in old releases. So yes, if there’s a security hole in your WordPress software, upgrading to the newest version (assuming you haven’t done so already), is not optional.

  12. Shelly

    I mean “not optional” in the sense that yes, you could manually remove the code from your WordPress files and/or database, but ten minutes after doing so, you’ll be re-infected.

  13. sonia

    Church!!!!! I hate that word.

  14. Comrade PhysioProf

    Dunno about any of that shit, but it sounds like a fucken pain in the ass.

  15. Sylvie

    awhirlinlondon – apologies in advance if this makes not a lot of sense but how were you able to pinpoint IBTP as the source of your 3rd party cookies? I’ve had double click coming from Google but don’t know how I got tribalfusion.com. Firefox’s cookie list doesn’t give this info.

  16. Chris Johnson

    This looks like a false alarm unless you’ve done something since you posted to resolve it. Currently only 3 cookies are being sent out from the site directly. There’s one for the site itself, one for WordPress and one for K2, and none of them appear to be malicious. ShareThis, Gravatar, K2 and WP all 3 also include some of their own content which has cookies for each site. Of that content, there is one page from ShareThis that is from googleadservices.com. That carries along with it a cookie from doubleclick, which is what Google uses as a tracking cookie for precisely what awhirlinlondon explains, serving ads it believes will be relevant to your interests. I don’t see it sending out any of the others that were listed, and nothing that would be malicious or unexpected.

  17. Ma'Whis'Ki

    For what its worth, I’m using Norton 360 on my home machine. I checked my current cookies folder and did not find any of the ones listed in the IBTP post. My current batch appear to be mostly from sites I recognize and/or have bookmarked, that I routinely visit/shop with. I also have the ‘accept third party cookies’ option turned off on my browser (Firefox).

    I’ll check with some of the IT people at work tomorrow to see what they can tell me about what we use on the staff computers at the library, and I’ll also ask them about what they do to keep the library system home-page free of piggy-backing crap. Since we do a lot of internet searches for patrons, we do a lot of manual browsing history/cookie deletions, so that we are 1) keeping no records of our patrons’ browsing habits, and 2) keeping the weird tracking crap that might come in via Google, etc., to a minimum.

    I’m certainly not going to hold third-party cookies against IBTP, because a lot of high-traffic sites have got e-cooties…

  18. Shelly

    Ma’Whis’Ki,

    Same here. I just did a scan for tracking cookies and found bupkis. But, I use Adblock Plus, which may be blocking them.

  19. Vinia Bright

    For those of you on Firefox, I HIGHLY recommend the Better Privacy Add-On. It will delete super cookies at the end of every session. I usually delete 30-80, depending on how long my browser’s been open.

    Just for the record, I use McAfee Internet Security software and scan regularly with Malwarebytes, which is free. I’ve only ever had 1 problem with malicious software, and that’s when I added Malwarebytes (and Spybot Search and Destroy, another great, free program.) No problems since then. I just checked and have only 1 session cookie from IBTB.

    It amazes me how voracious these internet advertisers are. Actually, it doesn’t. But I wish it did.

  20. ivyleaves

    I did not mean to imply I have a locked down system, at all. I just scanned my cookie list, and noted the option box I checked. I’m running an Apple computer with generic Safari for my main browser. I have never had a virus on any Macintosh, although we did have one one time about 10 years ago at work on classic Mac OS.

    I also do not mean to imply that I am safe from any viruses because I’m on a Mac, just reporting my experiences. On my son’s PC, I used to use AdAware to kill advertising junk, dunno if it’s still around.

  21. Gertrude Strine

    Running Firefox 3.6.8, with the NoScript extension toggled to allow scripting from neither sharethis.com nor google.com – only from http://blog.iblamethepatriarchy.com:

    Zero tracking cookies picked up.

    If awhirlinlondon uses a browser that permits scripting to run from google and sharethis, then it’s not surprising that cookies will track her net use – - that’s what those companies are set up to do; make money from following users’ site visit patterns. Anonymity and data aggregation problems from such tracking is a separate discussion. Google it!

    The web is Capital, much as many of us don’t want to accept it. The payment model – thanks to the monster google – is also this site-tracking advertising one. The alternatives of donation and subscription don’t, apparently, return enough to most site owners that they have yet moved against inviting site statistics scripting companies (all of the “cookies” listed above are set by legit companies, like it or not) on to their own sites.
    In particular, Web2 stuff that “shares” sites around, uses tracking intensively.
    This tracking is so entwined in services associated with blogging that a blog owner would have to retreat into their own server, without using any search services and without allowing any external services (images for nicks included, amongst other “sharing” stuff).
    Users have a little more room to move to get some control of their browsers back: they can install big fat third-party overseer apps, like the AV ones discussed above, to deliver the smites to code already written to their machines, or they can do a little browser comparison and get a browser that gives them control over what sites can run active content – ie scripts – hence what sites can set “tracking cookies” on their machines.
    Firefox is the most configurable one, using the NoScript and AdBlockPlus extensions.
    Opera does a good job, but you need to be a little more geek to configure scripting there.

    As far as I can see, Jill’s blog is *not* hosted by Word Press – only the Word Press code gets used. But Word Press is a reasonable host if a person want to use their site too. The host for this blog, bluehost.com also has a pretty good rep as far as I can see. I don’t believe awhirlinlondon’s problem is Jill’s to fix.

    For the record, I allow scripts to run on sites where I trust the site owner to use any information knowlegably and ethically, or where I want to help fund the site owner via ad display and use-tracking.
    Thus I don’t allow scripts to run on iblamethepatriarchy because I understand that Jill is not a code geek, and I understand that Jill doesn’t want to fund her blog via the web model. I wonder however whether Jill would know as much about her readers if she didn’t use any statistics scripts at all? This isn’t criticism; just saying what’s the standard publishing approach on the web.

    My advice is for Jill to chill and for awhirlinlondon to filter a little of the FUD from an agressive AV vendor, and take another cooler look at her own web use.

  22. Jill

    WordPress, the people hosting your site.

    But WordPress doesn’t host my site. That honor falls on some webhosting company.

    I’m afraid I’m more confused than ever now.

  23. Jill

    I wonder however whether Jill would know as much about her readers if she didn’t use any statistics scripts at all?

    I’ve had Sitemeter installed for years. At the beginning it was fun to click on the map and see the little dots (supposedly) representing readers around the the world. And then it was useful for standing by helplessly and watching whenever 4chan attacked me. But gradually I stopped wondering how many people were reading the blog, or whether they were in Edinburgh or Toronto. I haven’t opened Sitemeter in a long time. As a result, I don’t know jack about my readers, and I have to say I like it that way. If Sitemeter is the culprit, I’ll ditch it right away.

  24. Gertrude Strine

    Nope, I’d leave all as you have it. Sitemeter was an example in the general discussion about the publishing model for Web2 stuff. It is entirely innocuous.

    As for the rest of it, if a user won’t educate themselves on how to have their browser delete all unnecessary cookies when it closes, then they will have to rely entirely on these big AV vendors, who do run these FUD campaigns to attract customers – - it’s the AV business model, largely.

    Cookies overall are just bits of code that help a site organise a user’s experience, in some cases make sure a user isn’t getting their credentials stolen, and for the rest make it easier for the advertising companies to gather use patterns and similar. Some can be “tracking” style even when scripting isn’t involved, but it’s very easy to get rid of them by setting the browser to wipe them when it closes. Simple.
    IBTP doesn’t set cookies, and the scripts it does run are to help different browsers view the site nicely and for comments to be posted with bells and whistles. I’ve never had to let scripts run here to publish a comment (using Firefox, anyway)
    Just nothing bad in here at all.
    You might like to get this confirmed by the coders of Word Press and K2 if you’re at all worried. I am after all just another anon commenter. That I have a little education in scripting means nothing.

    As for the “tracking cookies” discussion, that’s for users to get educated about and to check their own web use for.
    I’d suggest the users worried about “tracking cookies” get back to the owners of the applications that are alerting them to the cookies and find out how to avoid having their browsers, and their systems in some cases, set them, or how to wipe unwanted cookies whenever.

  25. Shelly

    Jill,

    I don’t think you’re the one that’s confused. Your blog is set up like mine–a stand-alone install of WordPress on space you purchase from an independent web host. There’s not a thing that WordPress can or should do to “fix” any problem there might be. Or might not be, because frankly, I’m not seeing the sort of attack that was described. Wherever those tracking cookies originally came from, I don’t think it was IBTP.

    I use StatCounter, and like you, I’ve gotten way past the “Who’s reading me?” curiosity. Now, the only thing I use it for is to look at what search terms people use to get to my blog. I’m a library geek, and that sort of thing–how (and if) people find the information they’re looking for–entertains me.

  26. yttik

    The only two items I can pick up on this site are from Google. I’m using Firefox and a lot of spam blocking software.

    I’m not saying nobody else is getting cookies, I’m just saying they aren’t attaching themselves to me and I can’t even seem to locate any coming from this site. However, there is a Google search bar attached and it’s been my experience that Google always likes to slip in a few extras.

  27. minervaK

    may I recommend, to your Firefox users, AdBlock Plus?

  28. Orange

    The Wall Street Journal has a new article (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703940904575395073512989404.html) on how a zillion major websites are installing tracking cookies from their advertisers, but without their knowledge. When a company like Comcast.net has to do some digging to figure out where the hell the cookies are from, hey, there’s no reason a lone blogger should have a grasp on this.

    Basically, trackers sell user profile info to advertisers so they can display targeted ads to you when you visit *other* websites. I look forward to seeing a burst of patriarchy-subverting ads now that the advertisers can tell I’ve been to this blog.

  29. Gertrude Strine

    Site meters?
    Keep em I say; you bloggers deserve a little information for your hard work. I was only trying to make a point that this www is 2-way, for better or worse.

    Hope you’ve checked with K2 and WordPress to allay your anxiety about using their code. An equine handler such as you, Jill, should have realised immediately that the horse’s mouth is the best source of information.
    Me? I run the website for a local vet practise. Lots of third party tracking going on there but it’s a waste of money I say; all you need to know about a visitor is how heavy their purse is. Ethics? Isn’t that a county in the UK?

  30. agasaya

    Anyone?

    Can anyone recommend a reliable but affordable webmistress to contract with regarding an existing WP site – I want to change hosts and avoid risking loss of content but a lot of folks out there don’t really know much about this stuff!

  31. Sylvie

    Gertrude – thanks for the pointer to Firefox add-ons.

  32. Ayla

    Contact your actual host, which appears to be Blue Host. They should be able to look at your data on their box and see right away if there is some malicious code or script doing this. If there is, they should also be able to recommend what to do to keep it from happening again, or even upgrade things themselves on their end to keep it from happening again.

  33. Shell Goddamnit

    I know nothing about cookies, but I do know this body font (which must be a recent change?) is very painful in Firefox. It’s rough and uneven, and the perpetual bold seems to intensify the annoyingness. I mean, I have to read IBTP in IE for the luvagod, where the bold is still annoying but at least not oddly spaced & unreadable.

  34. Shelly

    Shell Goddamnit,

    I’m using Firefox 3.6.8, and the text is plain sans serif (Ariel?). Nothing bold or jagged about it. You might want to check your local settings (in FF it’s under Tools –> Options –> Content), to see if you’ve told it to use another font.

  35. Ma'Whis'Ki

    [The web is Capital, much as many of us don’t want to accept it. The payment model – thanks to the monster google – is also this site-tracking advertising one. The alternatives of donation and subscription don’t, apparently, return enough to most site owners that they have yet moved against inviting site statistics scripting companies (all of the “cookies” listed above are set by legit companies, like it or not) on to their own sites.]

    The above quote from Gertrude Strine’s comment echos what the IT people at work told me. I really don’t worry about tracking cookies– I periodically check my cookie folder and get rid of what I don’t want, but a lot of third-party stuff seems to be blocked quite nicely by the Firefox/Norton combo on my home machine.

  36. Jill

    I know nothing about cookies, but I do know this body font (which must be a recent change?) is very painful in Firefox. It’s rough and uneven, and the perpetual bold seems to intensify the annoyingness.

    I use Firefox, and it looks great. It’s Helvetica, and I’ve used it for years. Specifically because it’s supposed to be universally readable!

    Now I’m more confused than ever! Thanks everyone!

  37. awhirlinlondon

    Granting that I kicked this off, am sorry to take so long to get back – have, as always, been bloody travelling. Yes, IBTP is not hosted by wordpress – that was a brain hiccup based on the fact that mine is.

    Using AV software (I recommend Symantec’s Norton), refusing 3rd-party cookies and using adblockers etc. is obviously important. If you’re interested in further hardening (this has to do with general IT security, not cookies specifically) add arpwatch, keyscrambling and use encryption. (I don’t allow scripts from any website to execute locally unless seriously sandboxed, but that’s a personal decision.) But none of these, obviously, offer complete protection. Think of the instances of AV software identifying legitimate Windows components as malicious, deleting them and leaving the attacked boxes useless, for example. Alternately, remember Microsoft’s MS08-037 and the associated Zone Alarms Black Tuesday fiasco? More to the point if also very obvious: blackhatters are getting better – this situation might be an example of cookie stuffing.

    Firefox is great and offers some superb add-ons, which is one of the reasons we call it “the hacker’s best friend” and why I love it so dearly. The very fact that it has so beautifully amenable to add-ons, however, means in part that a good portion of the security that coders write into their websites can be revealed, manipulated and bingo! Exploited.

    StatCounter, the service that IBTP uses is supposed to be among the good guys – here’s a very interesting, clear (if old) article on the subject if anyone is interested: http://www.geeknewscentral.com/2007/04/02/betrayal-of-trust-is-sitemetercom-planting-3rd-party-cookie (Orange, thanks so much for the link to the newer article!)

    Gertrude Strine – I appreciate your kindness, but I don’t have a problem that Jill needs (or doesn’t need) to fix, nor did I propose in my email to her that she did– but again, I appreciate your concern on my and other readers’ behalf!

    Didn’t mean to cause a giant flap; honest!

  38. awhirlinlondon

    On a related note – viz an ongoing flap on another thread (and I haven’t a clue whether anyone is doing this, nor do I much care) – it’s not very hard to spoof one’s IP address from the comfort of one’s own home. Alternately, if one wanted to hide one’s identity under a different email and IP address, one could simply pop down to the local library or internet cafe. Voila.

  39. Gertrude Strine

    Something that quacks and walks like social engineering is going on in the thread.
    I’d be inclined to close this thread and break the links to awhirlinlondon’s WordPress sign-on right now.
    If it was my blog.

  40. yttik

    So what if someone wanted to hide their IP address? WTH cares? We’re posting on a blog under phony nics. I assume there aren’t any intense background checks required in order to post here? Much more bizarre that there are some people who believe it’s their business to try and find out if someone is hiding behind a phony IP. Get a life! Address the content of the comments, don’t attempt to engage in a character assassination. That’s just tacky.

    As to cookies, there is no concerted effort to attack IBTP. There are just the usual marketing strategies that float about the internet. This is a patriarchy we live in, people who want to attack you walk right in the front door.

  41. awhirlinlondon

    Dear Gertrude Strine – there really isn’t. There was an attempt to help; that’s it.

    Yttik – exactly right. Cookies are part of web-surfing, even if there’s cookie stuffing involved, which there might be here. They are not things for blog readers to be worried about – they cause no active harm at all. Their purpose is to figure out how to most accurately market to you (and to make money for the people who do the tracing).

  42. Gertrude Strine

    Taking a leaf out of the host’s book of advice on participating in blogular commentary, the course of action for this commenter is to write, in a bit of paraphrasty of Twisty:
    “Gosh, those complete strangers on the internet sure do have some twisted ideas about my motiviations for writing posts!
    I guess I won’t subject myself to the bother of taking it personally.
    Luckily I am secure enough in my excellent personal grasp of browser use that I don’t need to write another 17 comments telling the aforementioned complete strangers what kinds of specific misapprehensions they appear to be operating beneath.”

    Thanks for the laughs.

  43. allhellsloose

    I tried posting on this a few days ago but couldn’t as conspiratorialy, sinisterly my internet went down. Could this be the cookies working their evilness? I need to get a life.

    IBTP.

  44. Jezebella

    Gertrude Strine, what does that even mean, when you say “social engineering” is going on and should be stopped? I really have no idea what you’re implying, and I’m curious.

  45. awhirlinlondon

    Social Engineering is the practice of persuading or manipulating people into giving you information or doing something that they wouldn’t want to do or divulge if they understood what was going on. It is the number one danger in IT security, which, incidentally, is what I do for a living – on the White Hat side as both a pen-tester and a teacher.

  46. awhirlinlondon

    Social Engineering is the biggest danger in IT security. It involves persuading people to do or divulge things that they wouldn’t if they understood what was going on. It’s about subterfuge, lying, misleading and etc. It relies on the human desire to be kind and useful.

    IT security, incidentally, is what I do for a living as a (White Hat) penetration tester and instructor, Gertrude Strine. I love this place – one of the reasons that I’m trying to look at it with a helpful eye from an entirely non-intrusive (aka “passive” rather than “active”) point of view. Had no intention of creating the flap that it’s become.

  47. awhirlinlondon

    And also, Gertrude Strine, my generosity with respect to you has now run out.

  48. Ayla

    Well we all know what happens when generosity runs out, now don’t we?? Mwa ha ha!

    Wait – What happens when generosity runs out?

  49. Miss Andrist

    Jill,

    WordPress doesn’t host your blog, it’s just your blog software. I looked up your domain registrar, if you don’t know it.

    Have you updated all your WP plugins? An icon on the left panel will show you they’ve changed. That’s the first step.

    What’s wrong doesn’t live on your computer, it’s on your remote hosted server. It’s probably no big deal. If you want. email me and I’ll walk you through step-by-step cleaning it up.

    Let me know, always happy to help (and I do this for a living, so you can totally sue me if I lead you astray. ^_^)

    -Lee, aka Miss Andrist

  50. Miss Andrist

    @AWhirlInLondon:

    Cookies are hosted on a server. A bunch of common WP plugins and themes updated in the last week or two and in the week before those updates, one of my projects was all screwy with an employee getting spam all of a sudden. No idea if either Jill or Shelly use the same plugins, but good chance. Also no idea if they removed unused themes or not.

    Blamers, if you need help with your sites / blogs / etc: leah dot lasalla at atyrwilder dot com.

    In a remote hosted environment, this is much less about the destination of the cookies and much more about their origin. Cool tho, shared hosting environment (obviously).

    Anyway, I’m around. HTH.

    -Miss Andrist

  51. awhirlinlondon

    Miss Andrist, you darling! (Yes, WordPress was a brain fart– it hosts my blog, not this one.) Would you mind awfully “talking”? My email: readerresearcher at hotmail dot com.

  52. agasaya

    Lee,

    Nothing comes up in a search for leah lasalla other than this post. Do you have more info here? The more blogs with this kind of orientation the better. It’s how most people are becoming acquainted with life these days.

  53. agasaya

    Has anyone had experience with blogconsulting.com ? I’d prefer working with a woman but need to make a change soon.

  54. Miss Andrist

    Agasaya,

    Sorry for the delayed response.

    I as a rule don’t make that email address public bidness as I use it for work purposes – and it’s my name, really, which I’d prefer to keep out of the hands of the crazies. I am Miss Andrist around the blogosphere. My own site, screaming-banshee.com, is down while I change my mind repeatedly regarding what to do with it and how. I dropped my email address so you could shoot me an email if you felt inclined. Up to you. ;)

    I took a look at blogconsulting.com and I’m not even sure what you’d be paying for. Setup, I guess? Maintenance? And from the sounds of it, some degree of custom theming. I know how incredibly automated the setup process is and if you have a clear idea of what you want it to look like, I don’t mind cracking out a custom stylesheet in the name of liberation. It’s good practice and a good teaching tool I can use with the radfems who are interested in learning the craft.

    If you want to do it yourself without learning three different coding languages, check out a tool called Artisteer. It’s unquestionably cheaper than the eight hundred dollars that blogconsulting.com guy would probably set you back, and I’ve used it – it’s FUN. No code at all, promise. ;) Free trial. Anyway.

    Just a public service fyi. I’m around, email me or whatnot if you have questions / comments / want to trade tech / etc.

    HTH

    Miss Andrist
    Lover of Men

  55. Miss Andrist

    (Oh and if it wasn’t clear – the cool part about hitting up me, your fellow blamer (me), is I’m free. If ever there were a worthy cause, my human dignity is it, so I don’t tend to make a habit of charging my sisters in arms.)

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