on search engines and trust certification authorities

October 24th, 2006

First, Didier Stevens has posted an update on the bogus SERP pages serving badware (Didier calls this method spamdexing). In this update, he reveals the overall number of spamdexing sites and analyzes the AOL search data and finds that roughly 1% of AOL users clicked on these spamdexing sites.

Previous cleverhack posts about these sites can be found here and here.

Not too long ago, Ben Edelman posted an article examining the trustworthiness of sites certified by site certification authorities - most notably TRUSTe. His methodology included cross-referencing TRUSTe’s ratings with the findings of SiteAdvisor - and finding that TRUSTe certified some sites that SiteAdvisor did not rate as trustworthy. These findings should be considered when thinking about purchasing a site certification seal for your site or using a site with a certification seal. (And yes, I will admit my bias - of being on the Web for so long to dislike anything trying to show “trust” - against these seals…)

[tags]SERPS, Google, search engines, traffic, spyware, adware, badware, viruses, trojan, dialers, spamdexing, site certification, site trustworthiness, TRUSTe, SiteAdvisor [/tags]

two unknown search tools

October 22nd, 2006

An easy peasy post to start off the morning about two unknown search tools I’ve been seeing in the logs.

First is scroogle.org which basically acts as a proxy between you and Google. The cachet is that Google can’t track you if you use the scroogle.org service. I see less than 10 referrers from there every few days. Also, scroogle dot com, uh, redirects you to a very not safe for work search engine. You have been warned.

Gridwell is a beta search engine based in the UK. The search engine appears to be a consultancy project and it looks like they’re just getting their feet wet trying out site SERP design ideas such as showing site favicons with results. Their results, as of this writing, are from Yahoo. Here’s the about page for the gridwell search service.

[tags]scroogle.org, gridwell, Google, Yahoo, search engines, SERP [/tags]

Rutgers Football 7-0

October 21st, 2006

Rutgers 20 - Pitt 10. Now Rutgers is 2-0 Big East.

Awesome. And Campbell really did catch the ball in the 2nd quarter, despite the stupid ref’s call.

[tags]Rutgers Football [/tags]

Holiday 2006 - First USPS shipping deadlines

October 21st, 2006

While I’m not quite living the active e-commerce life anymore (serving as an advisor this holiday season), I wanted to note that the USPS 2006 Military and International Holiday Shipping schedule has been released.

The first major shipping deadline for Holiday 2006 is November 13th, 2006 for Military Parcel Post Mail.

Have fun, my e-commerce friends!

[tags]e-commerce, ecommerce, online shopping, holiday shipping, USPS[/tags]

ancestry.com bot

October 21st, 2006

I thought this was clever. The grandaddy of all genealogy sites, Ancestry.com has a crawler which searches for biographical information on the Web. Here’s the bot information page.

Http Code: 200 Date: Oct 09 17:28:47 Http Version: HTTP/1.1 Size in Bytes: 50133
Referer: -
Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MyFamilyBot/1.0; http://www.ancestry.com/learn/bot.aspx)

A special bonus, my genealogy course notes from my days as a computer instructor.

For the incoming search engine visitors, if you want to get into the genealogy blogosphere, start with the well written and sharp witted genealogue.blogspot.com.

[tags]genealogy, ancestry.com, robots, bots, crawlers[/tags]

This is your Friday update post

October 20th, 2006

This is the “Friday afternoon and I am going to crawl into bed after a late night last night update”.

I can say that I am currently fat and happy at the moment.

Last week consisted of running to the hospital to visit and be outspoken to nurses. Burst appendixes with a touch of infected wound (not mine, but a lapsed blogger) are very painful. And it can take down a healthy person who has hobbies such as, oh, participating in triathalons.

Fantasy Football - week 6 saw me win my matchup and wind up in second place for the league. Santana Moss actually played well. The Eagles Saints game was painful since I had Carney as my kicker but I was hoping the Eagles would win. As it turns out, the Eagles lost to a Carney field goal. Pittsburgh’s Hines Ward played his best game so far this season. Suffice it to say, I had dropped him last week.

I’m going into week 7 without a kicker though (no drop/add this week).

Rutgers is 6-0 and this week they play Pittsburgh.

Fantasy Football Week 5

October 8th, 2006

Fantasy Football week 5 - if I dump that player, of course they go on to do well for someone else. Between last week and this week I have drop/add the following. I’ve been using this season’s stats to determine who I want.

-QB drop T. Brady for C. Frye
-K. drop S. Graham for J. Carney
-TE drop J. Witten for H. Miller
-Def drop Broncos for Rams

Westbrook is questionable again because of his knee, and from what I’m seeing he may not play. The Eagles have been very unreliable wrt their injury reports. I may get a change of heart, but I don’t know.

Update: Green was declared inactive by Green Bay just before the game…and I didn’t catch that (!!!). Oh, and reportedly, Westbrook is facing surgery.

-QB Charlie Frye CLE @CAR
-RB LaDainian Tomlinson SD PIT
-RB A. Green GB STL
-WR Laveranues Coles NYJ @JAC
-WR Santana Moss WAS @NYG
-TE Heath Miller PIT @SD
-PK John Carney NO TB
-Def Rams, Team Defense STL @GB

-QB C. Pennington, NYJ @JAC
-RB M. Bell, DEN BAL
-RB T. Jones, CHI BUF
-RB B. Westbrook, PHI DAL
-WR A. Johnson, HOU bye
-WR H. Ward, PIT @SD
-TE A. Crumpler, ATL bye
-Def Seahawks bye

[tags]fantasy football[/tags]

Siphoned Google traffic used to install badware

October 7th, 2006

A few months ago I wrote up a post about how I found some very shifty results on Google search engine result pages. At the time, I found some pages that were essentially mockups of Google SERPs. These pages were all on a .info TLD, had an iframe linking to a website called cleansearch.info and had numerous of links at the bottom of each mocked up page linking to other mocked up .info pages. I couldn’t figure out why someone would go through all of that trouble.

Well, as it turns out, Didier Stevens found out why.

Didier examined Google SERPs on Google.be and found the Google mockup .info pages were infecting folks with spyware, adware, dialers and other badware. As of this writing, most virus scanners can’t find these infected files. Here’s video of the infection and cleanup.

Didier has also tried to determine the probability of seeing one of these drive by download sites on a Google search query, and the figure is roughly 1 out of 1000.

Of note, these mocked up sites are rife with misspelled words, so if you’re a chronic misspeller I dare say your chances would be higher.

[tags]SERPS, Google, search engines, traffic, spyware, adware, badware, viruses, trojan, dialers [/tags]

weekend update

October 7th, 2006

An all around busy week (again) nothing too bad, though. Of note:

  • Rutgers Football has a bye this week
  • I will regain my glory in fantasy football.
  • T.O. and the rest of the Dallas team will be playing the Eagles at home. I’m hearing talk of prescription bottles and nickles.
  • I am receiving requests to do another podcast, I shall look into it.
  • This blog has been on the Talk Digger Most Active Conversations List.

[tags]cleverhack, fantasy football, talkdigger[/tags]

MSRBOT update

October 5th, 2006

Remember the earlier speculation about a bot called MSRBOT and whether it was Microsoft related?

As it turns out, MSRBOT does belong to Microsoft Research in San Jose. The researchers at Microsoft finally put an identifying url in the user agent string.

Http Code: 200 Date: Oct 05 05:22:51 Http Version: HTTP/1.1 Size in Bytes: 7743
Referer: -
Agent: MSRBOT (http://research.microsoft.com/research/sv/msrbot/)

[tags]Web, robot, crawler, Microsoft[/tags]

fantasy football week 4

October 2nd, 2006

Ok, ok, I’m down by…30 points… If I had played Santana Moss, I would have been at least closer. And had the foreknowledge that Thomas Jones would have had a great day yesterday…well, I would have had a much better week.

LaDainian only clocked in with 9pts. The Seahawks defense was stomped. And of course, Westbrook’s injury wasn’t announced until just before the game and my other productive running back, Ahman Green was announced as injured late last week.

Ah well.

[tags]fantasy football[/tags]


October 1st, 2006

Sleipnir is a Web browser based on Internet Explorer and designed for Japanese users. There is an unofficial Yahoo group for Sleipnir users.

Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1; .NET CLR 1.1.4322) Sleipnir/2.47

[tags]Sleipnir, Web browser, Japanese language Web browser[/tags]