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Friday, August 31, 2007

Beware: A Down-side of Blogging

If the up-side of blogging is the development of a web presence and all the good things that that brings, then the down-side of blogging is the development of a web presence with all the negatives that that brings. There are numerous ways that the web can cause head aches, just ask Flea. But aside from taking grief from what you write, when you become visible on the web, you become a target for all the crack-pots, hackers, and "lonelies" determined to do you harm.

Here's a question: What do Latvia, Microsoft, The Pentagon, Google, and Dr Schoor.com all have in common?

Answer: We've all been cyber-attacked.

Here is what happened to me yesterday. At ~3PM I went to check email and received ~100 mail demon messages, the ones that indicate undeliverable email messages. 3:15PM I checked email again, and ~100 more mail demon messages. 3:30PM, ~100 more. On so on and so on. By 8PM I had received well over one thousand such messages, from all over the world, in all languages. So many messages, in fact, that my server was tied up and sluggish and business was affected negatively. Finally, I called my ISP and learned that I had been "spoofed."

Spoofed! What does that mean? It involves taking over someones email "spf" protocol. Hence the term "spoofing" but in English, I learned, it involves commandeering a person email extension, such as @drschoor.com or @gmail.com etc, and, I guess for the fun of it, spamming the world with your email. Undeliverable messages--those without recipients--get bounced back to me with the notation "undeliverable massage" from mail demon or something similar. The spammer can use an automated program to send millions of spammed messages from YOU, and your server gets tied up with the junk mail that returns.

I have no idea what message the spammer sent using @drschoor.com.

Dr Schoor.com, cyber-attacked. Richard A Schoor MD, victimized. Yes victimized, that is how I feel. I have solved the problem and the messages are slowing down. All that is left to do now is to find the important messages mixed in with the mass of junk, hope that the spammed @drschoor.com message was not too offensive, and to file a police report. I hope the authorities catch the perpetrator, though I know they will not.

Beware of the Web. It giveth and it taketh away.

Thanks for listening,

The IU.