Posted on Leave a comment

Analytics Spam Blocker – Fixed Communications

A quick update fixing a communications error that affected a few users. Something went wrong with processing reports and new registrations on the server. This has now been fixed.

Report Referral Spam

Referral spam continues to be a bother for many site owners. Using Analytics Spam Blocker helps you get your stats back and true. Report any suspicious domains via your Analytics Spam Blocker dashboard to make sure they are blocked from your analytics.

Your report is important to make stats better and discourage the use of referral spam domains. The more reports get sent in, the less effective the domains become. Which may cause referral spam to die out.

Changes for v2.7.1

  • [fix] Communication error with the server for some people
Posted on

Analytics Spam Blocker 2.4.1 – Available now!

A update re-doing the dashboard a bit. Some tweaks to the internals and a few bug fixes for the dashboard. Let me know what you think about the new dashboard.

On the reports server a few tweaks have been made so that reported domains are included a bit quicker into the blocklist.
Less reports are now needed to have the domain included.

Changes for 2.4.1

  • [new] Added help tabs
  • [fix] Some dashboard notifications not showing up correctly
  • [fix] Removed double html and css classes for errors
  • [change] Improved compatibility with WordPress
  • [change] Api updates
  • [change] Re-arranged the dashboard

Read more »

Posted on

Analytics Spam Blocker now under my wing!

Recently I’ve rewritten en re-released the fairly popular Analytics Spam Blocker. Originally created by Luke Williamson. He didn’t want to continue the project so I asked if I could take over and he agreed 🙂

Not being updated for a while there was a bunch of stuff to do, I’ve optimised the plugin a bit and rewritten a bunch of stuff to make it work with more modern WordPress versions – Though Lukes code was nice and not much needed to be done there.

More importantly. With the spawning of new bots and referral spam every day, a common complaint was that new domains to block weren’t included in the plugin fast enough. With my new version this is mostly negated by an automatic reporting system.

Read more »

Posted on

A spammy pattern emerges

spamFor a while now I’m being pestered by spam – Just like the rest of the world. But only recently I noticed a pattern. And today it happened twice, which prompted this post. There is a pattern to spam which leads me to believe that a lot of my customers either have a virus on their computer or, worse, are part of a botnet.

Examples

Here are some examples that are too conveniently timed to be coincidental. I paid attention to these things for a while and think I found 3 scenarios that are very likely to be true.

Infected SMTP settings or whatever

Someone resets their password on this website and gets an email about that. The user then sends me an email about something.
Their domain suggests something a site about health and better living.
What else did I get at the same time? 3 spam emails about health, pills and vitamins.
Conclusion: That person has a virus on their computer sending spam to anyone the user sends legit email to.

Email list crawlers

Someone from a certain country, for example from Poland, buys something on my site and gets emails about that confirming their purchase.
Promptly, within a few days I get spam in Polish. This happens quite often, in many languages but *always* after someone from that country buys something from me. Most commonly Eastern European countries.
Conclusion: The computer is infected with a virus that crawls email lists and sends them to a spam server or sends them by itself via a proxy or something.

Botnetting

Every day for the past 6 months or so around 5pm GMT+1 spam starts to come in, about all subjects. Pills, roof fixing, woodworking, flowers, stock exchanges, hair loss prevention, the list goes on. Typical shit dumb people may fall for.
Conclusion: This is most likely because the persons computer is turned on around that time, every day. Which also activates the virus that is part of a botnet sending spam.

How to fix – It’s easy

Install or update your damn antivirus. Run malware scans and clean that crap up.
Or, better yet, stop clicking every link and attachment you get. Stop clicking banners and stop automatically opening downloads or running every option in those downloads.

Or even better; Stop using Microsoft Windows and start using a OS that is not as susceptible for viruses. Yes, that means using some sort of Linux or Mac OS X. I do recognize that switching from Windows to something else is not all that easy but it’s a somewhat sure fix.
If that’s no option then at least install a f*cking antivirus and firewall and be a more conscious (read: less dumb) user.

Microsoft Windows comes with *FREE* basic protection for that stuff. It’s called Security Essentials. It takes no time to install, runs in the background and doesn’t bother you too much.
Also, since I use it, I know it doesn’t slow down your PC.

Windows also has a Firewall built in, I don’t use that myself so I don’t know how good it is, but at least it’s something. Plus, if you set up your home network properly (without uPNP for example) things get safer already.

There are literally hundreds of cheap(-ish) tools available to protect your PC. Invest some time into it and find a proper one. We all know that Norton and McAfee tools are crap and bogging down your PC more than the viruses but there are good ones, too.
The best one is yourself. Or maybe not, since a lot of you are in fact having viruses. But stop clicking on every link or warning you see and stop going to garbage sites to get your porn, warez and hacked software. Which are the main sources for viruses.

Don’t assume you’re smarter

Because you’re probably not, deal with it. Most of you reading this will think “Hah! dummies, I’m not one of them”. Well, you’re wrong. Most of you use Windows, thus you have a virus or can easily get one. Simple as that.

If you think you are a conscious user you may think “I don’t need antivirus because I never click attachments” then I guarantee you you are infected. You just don’t know it because you don’t have anything to tell you. You Sir/Ma’m are the worst kind!

Even me, I am very conscious about these things. But when I wanted to install a thing on Windows a while ago, despite researching the source and app I was going to install I got a virus from it. With this I mean to say, if a smart guy like me can get viruses that easy then most certainly the average person *will* get them too.

So, if you can get viruses that easy, and even worse, are dumb enough to not notice them or think you won’t get them… Please disconnect from the internet now. It will better the internet in the long run.

The result of your computer usage

As a result of all of the above I have now blacklisted the entire .pl, .kz, .us, .info and a few more TLD in my server. So if you’re in one of those. Sorry, but I won’t get your email. If you write to me about anything related to HARP, healthcare or more of such spammy keywords. Sorry, but I won’t get your email. Mention Paypal in the wrong combination of words and your email won’t reach me either. If you write to me and mention certain Polish, Hungarian or Russian words or phrases. It’s going right to the trash.
And then there are the hundreds of individually blacklisted addresses my spam filter picks up by itself.
You may say; get a better spam filter. Sure, I have a pretty good spamfilter. But why not tackle the problem at the root instead of at the top.

Make the internet a better place

If you’re not sure how to deal with this then perhaps I can help. You can always email me about getting help to make the internet a better place. If things get complicated I can recommend Chi Computers (Dutch site, Owner speaks English) who actually specialises in this stuff.

Yea, I spend too much time trying to weed through spam and I’m getting tired of it. Hence this post 😉