Monday, December 03, 2007

Monday's Musings

The big weekend news was, of course -- the weather, baby; i.e., lake effect snow, and lots of it. All over the place. We didn't get any in Virginia, but we did have a little rain and a lot of wind. I hope these early blizzards don't portend a harsh winter. Last year's mild winter pleased me greatly.

This is pretty scary. I can't vouch for its accuracy -- I got it from an Internet news site -- but it's scary enough. Apparently, a number of malicious websites have popped up online over the past few weeks, and they're showing up at or near the top of some seemingly innocuous Google searches for words like "Christmas". The sites are believed to be run by a high-tech wing of the Russian mafia and allegedly used flaws in older versions of Microsoft IE browser to install malicious software to take control of computers.

Back-door delivery of malicious software through web sites is not, of course, new. What is scary here, however, is the high rankings such pages have been able to garner through top search engines like Google and MSN Search. They've been able to generate this through extensive comment spam and leaving links to their sites on popular, reputable blogs, tricking Google and other search engines into assuming that the sites being linked to are also reputable, which can result in prioritized search results.

Google has been able to locate and remove most of them, but be vigilant, be careful, and keep your safeguards up to date. Even Al Gore's blog got hacked last week.

It's Dress-Up Monday, which means you have to tell me what you're wearing. I have on pants in a tiny black and grey houndstooth check, black velvet top with mother of pearl snap closures, and black shoes. Don't ask me why I decided to wear heels on a Monday; I have no idea.

And now, let's muse on the possible etymology of these Words Gone Wild.

chooswe - A character to be introduced in the next 'Star Wars' movie.

phenomeon - A new drug; me on it, look out.

chinelle - Fake china made out of vinyl.

inocuous - Infatuated with eyeglasses.

publiswhers - Literally, "What is the location of my publisher?"

damamges - Damned if I know what this is.

sandwhiched - Blinded by sand and don't know which way you're going.

aggrivation - I don't know this one. Do you?

From the so-called "editor" person:


VE said...

We're getting blasted with wind and rain here. Some gusts up to 120mph on the Coast.

Clothes? You mean I'm supposed to wear clothes when I'm on the computer?

/t. said...


timely post!

i ran into one of
these spayware sites yesterday -- it popped up an alert to tell me i needed to check my system with their free 'spy-checker' (which of course, IS the spyware) -- and then it will not take no for an answer -- ever -- you have to have the operating system shut down the entire browser to stop it

if at any time you get careless, then you have given permission for the download to start(!)

also, nice looking kid -- yours?


Serena Joy said...

Geez, VE -- 120 mph? We're having wuss gusts here -- only 57 mph. So, um, that would be your answer to the 'what are you wearing' question?:)

I haven't run into that yet, /t., but I'm sure it's probably only a matter of time. Between having to dodge that kind of stuff and watch out for Stalker People, it's a pain in the butt. I'm not sure I even know how to tell my OS to order the browser to shut down.

That is a pretty cute kid, huh? And to forestall the inevitable smartass -- no, that is not my baby picture.:-)

Charles said...

I went through much of yesterday trying to help my brother over the phone to get rid of some spyware on his computer that he got through ads on MSN. This is one reason I have comment moderation turned on on my blog. Of course the other is the trolls.

From a website I don't remember which (could be Darknet...):
[ Darknet spilled these bits on November 7th 2007 @ 6:54 am

If I recall this is not the first time this has happened, delivering viral payloads via banner ads and flaws in scripting.

It seems that malware peddlers are getting more aggressive though, it obviously shows there is actual monetary value in infecting people and stealing their data.

A subtle form of social engineering too, by leveraging on the trust a user gives to a big name site, they also pass that trust on to the banner ads displayed on that site.

Thousands of PC users have been duped into surrendering sensitive information and installing malicious software after falling victim to a complex scam that continues to plague well-known websites, a researcher warns.

The scam is the latest to piggyback on banner ads that are fed to high-traffic destinations. Malicious code hardwired into the ads prompts a pop-up that warns of a bogus security threat on the visitor's machine. It offers to fix the problem in exchange for a fee and for credit card information. The ad then attempts to install a back door on the victim's machine.

There are thousands of sites with these malware infested banner ads running, so be careful. It seem you're no longer safe even if you stay away from the seedier parts of the web.

I'd guess though the vast majority of readers here wouldn't be stupid enough to download a prompted 'security' fix which randomly appeared.

Jackson estimates the rogue ads have appeared on anywhere from "several hundred to 1,000″ sites, which tend to be related to television and entertainment. Based on unique signatures of the javascript used in the attack, which researchers have seen passing over the net, he estimates thousands of people have fallen for the ruse.

Jackson has managed to shut down at least two servers serving the bad ads, but warns at least two more are still operational. He declined to identify the servers or the websites by name.

I hope they manage to shut down the rest

I'm wearing a gray boxers, a black T and black jeans today, no shoes yet.

damamges - a garment designed in the spirit of a g-string worn instead of a brassiere.
aggrivation - having the property of being derived from agriculture.
anamosity - having the qualities of a former kingdom and French protectorate along the E coast of French Indochina.

Kanrei said...

A good reason to switch to Firefox I would say.

The weather here has been perfect:70's, slightly overcast with no rain. AHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Serena Joy said...

More proof that one must be extra cautious, Charles. Thanks for sharing that info. I've heard of people who've actually clicked that "security fix" thing. I don't know why anybody would do that. Just don't know any better, I guess.

What, no shorts today? It must be cold down there. What is it, like 70?:)

Great definitions!

Kan! You live! Even if you are rubbing it in about the weather, it's good to see you. And you'll be pleased to hear that I've been using Firefox for a while now.

/t. said...


good old
three finger salute
for us sensible pc users...

[ctrl][alt][delete] /w options to shut down running applications, whole computer, restart...


Serena Joy said...

/t.? Oh! I do that all the time. I was sitting here thinking that it must be something much more complicated. Thanks for setting me straight.:)

Charles said...

I think what /t is alluding to is the use of Task Manager to kill the browser process. Another way to pull it up is to right-click the TaskBar and choose Task Manager. Be warned, that you will be prompted in Firefox whether you want to resume your closed session, or start a session, so if you had the offending site open, you may open it again.

G-Man said...

Al Gore has a blog?
I wonder if you google 'Tipper' you get him...or Ted Kennedy?

Serena..I'm wearing white socks
Hanes Boxer Briefs
A Harley Davidson T-Shirt from Winchester Virginia..(Home of Patsy Cline)..

Lovely Serena
You are so interesting.
How do you do it?


puerileuwaite said...

I am wearing the exact same outfit, and I can't believe you didn't check with me first.

Serena Joy said...

Thanks, Charles. I'll know what to do now IF it ever happens.

I've never seen Al Gore's blog, Galen, but that's what they say. Whoever "they" are. WHY are you running around in briefs? It's freezing out there in MI! For the love of God, man, put on your pants. I don't think I'm so much interesting as afflicted by a short attention span.:-)

I'm sorry, Puggy. I will for sure check with you next time to make sure we're not dressed like the Bobsey Twins. And you had better not have been wearing my shoes!:-)

G-Man said...

I'm NOT outside Sherry!
Although it is a bit nippy..Thanks for the advice. I'll take it under advisement!!!

Serena Joy said...

Do consider it, Galen, before Jackfrost be nipping at your butt. Pants!:)

Hale McKay said...

We got hit with snow after midnight - but fortunately it was a fast moving storm. It turned over to sleet and then rain sometime in the wee hours.

We awoke to about 2" of heavy wet slushhy snow. It drizzled most of the morning changed back to snow and back to rain in the afternoon.
There were wind gusts 50-75 mph and it was COLD! High was 33 with wind chills around zero.

By the time I was driving home, the streets were getting slippery as the stuf started to freeze. It will be very icy tomorrow morning.

What was I wearing today? (Think Nanook of the North.)

Top cat said...

This spyware stuff is getting scary. They have even been able to hack ebay now.
Here is a link to a new ebay scam warning.

We are having Januarylike weather here since the weekend. Frigid temps and high winds.
It's already snowed 4 or 5 times.
I'm afraid we are going to have a rough winter, lots of snow and below average temps with high winds.


Charles said...

Wow! Hale wears entire Eskimo outfits? I wasn't even aware that one could even buy entire Eskimos.

Charles said...

Hahahaha. I just checked my blog's reading level. Elementary School! hahahahahaha

/t. said...

of my blogs
got elementary

i consider it an honor... then, too, i consider the rating system to be junk (possibly written by russian mafia ;)


Serena Joy said...

That weather sounds dreadful, Mike. No wonder you dressed like Nanook. You HAD to.:)

TC, it's getting kind of hard to tell what's a scam and what's not. I get spam-mail all the time "alerting" me that various accounts (none of which I have) require updating.

Charles and /t., you both got elementary school ratings? LOL! Just goes to show that the rater ain't so bright. And, as /t. said, probably thought up by a Russian thug.:)