Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Friday, September 4, 2015

More comments on spam comments to blogs and phishing

In making comments to a blog post, you may have been required to transcribe an image or take some other action before your comment can be posted. The reason for this is rather simple. There seems to be an undercurrent of spam comments being posted automatically to older blog posts. I personally review every single comment made to my blogs before they are published. I have recently reviewed and upgraded some of my settings with regards to comments. This has come about because of an increase in spam comments.

These comments usually take the form of some flattering statement about the quality of the blog but nearly always contain no content referring to the actual blog post. In addition, nearly always the spam comments contain a link to another website. The purpose of these spam comments is to increase the links to the website and thus affect its ranking in searches. As completely as possible I delete every single one of these comments. Many of them are written in a non-English language and in some of the comments the grammar is so poor as to be obvious.

 This particular issue is rather minor although it does involve some time commitment to remove the offensive blog comments.

Another more serious issue is the marked increase in email phishing. The purpose of an email phishing scheme is to try and get you to click on an attachment to an email and thereby infect your computer with a virus or Trojan horse. Both of these can damage your computer's operating system. I recently reported about a phishing scam that involved an invitation to a document that turned out to be from another entity other than the one named in the invitation. My wife recently investigated one of these and found that the invitation had been sent from Nigeria. Some of the phishing invitations are rather simple and the sender is not identified or is identified only by a single name, such as "Martha." In these cases, you are requested to click on a link to view a document.

In all of these cases, it is very important that you delete the email message without either opening it or clicking on the link. In my wife's case, she had clicked on the link and it was necessary to reset a number of her passwords to prevent further access. There are programs that will protect against some viruses, but if you invite the infection by clicking on a document, your computer's security system may not prevent infection. If you have clicked on one of these email invitations because it is from someone you know, but find it to be bogus, change your email password immediately. If you receive an email from someone you know but question why they might send you such a document, contact them directly by phone, text, or new email to verify the email before you open it.

Another scam has recently appeared when I got an invitation from one of my Facebook "friends" who had tagged me in a photo. However when I went to view the tag, I was one of many people who had been spammed with an objectionable web link. I immediately deleted that person or "unfriended" him.

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. See Wendell Phillips see also, This Day in Quotes.

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