Warnings and Hoaxes

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Every few weeks I seem to get someone sending me a 'birthdayalarm.com' request.

I'm always suspect of services which spam you in an unsolicited manner and then start asking for personal details.

A quick google reveals http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=81652 ...

Whilst there are other sites containing rave reviews, i'm sorry but the stuff on that page scares me hardcore.

The reason they, and other slime like sms.ac want your hotmail username and password is so they can get to the address book and spam your friends.

Agreed. And enough said.

I am sorely tempted to blackhole their IP range from my MTA. But we'll wait and see...

UPDATE: This lot are DODGY AS!
I got curious, so I created a dummy login via Hotmail.
The system seems to be clever enough that it knows I use hotmail...
... becuase it now requires me to submit my hotmail password in order to add Birthdays!! (Pa-the-tic)

Actually, the system emailed the hotmail account asking me to 'verify it'. Yet, I having done so have access to no additional facilities.
I get 'Add Holiday' 'Add Event' and 'Add Birthday'. The first two work.
However under 'Add Event' it actually tells me not to use it for birthdays, to use the birthday system instead.

Actually, if you read down the right hand frame there is a link that allows you to add entries manually.

Key problems:

They ask for your Hotmail Password. The box is captioned: "Hotmail Users! Enter your Hotmail details below and you can choose from all the addresses in your Hotmail Address Book." Not only is there any further disclaimer or explanation as to why they want to get your password off you, but the wording itself is very casual and misleading - no idea how big a deal this is.

(Click to view full sized)

They make it look like you need to do this.. Enough said.

And while we're on the subject, don't get suckered:


How long till one of these pops up locally? Now that its gotten everyones attention and all that...

(Timely to post this now, I suppose!)

You'll remember my rants about sms.ac.
Heres another one in the same category.

An old school friend of mine - bless her soul! - fed my email address into NamesDatabase.com. End result is that i'm now being spammed by a 'social networking' database which smacks of breach-of-privacy.

The 'Do No Evil' attitude taken by Google has been shot to hell by todays discovery of a major flaw in the Google Groups system for inviting new people to a given group.

That flaw is that the invite acts as a subscription in its own right.
This blog entry discusses what transpired - including responses from other NANOG contributors and an eventual resolution thanks to Google themselves, of this specific instance - but the bigger picture issue remains... as do questions around the whole design of Google Groups!

The YANZ forum had a new signup recently from a guy using the handle 'xjscott05'. I noticed this as it was showing as the most recent signup when I checked the forum:

I then noticed when I looked at their profile that the only personal info given outside of the compulsary was a web address - a lik to personalsight.com given as a php reference with a parameter given... this I found odd.

Got sick of the image being too wide. Click here to view.

Clicking on the link sent me through to a fairly vague looking site with a coupla photos of some guy on it, as shown:

Yet if I nuke the cookies that the click-through version of the URL got me, I find... a PORN site.

Nassssssssty. Unless someone got the concept of 'Young Amateurs' completely wrong, this is a really weird attempt to try to join the forum and make use of its resources whilst obscuring where hes really from.

And if there was any doubt - heres a shot of their forum. (The only non-R18 thing I can really show):

Another image that was annoyingly too wide. Click here to view.

Sheesh. Ya'd think that if you were going to run a porn site you'd at least be upfront about it. Instead of doing crafty cookie-driven things to advertise-your-site-and-yet-not-advertise-it.

Course, I didn't dare use IE to look at the page. Who knows what it'd have done?


I don't understand why people keep falling for this?

"Send to 20 people and we'll send you a free Playstation".

Yeah, right. As If. Engage brain and it quickly prompts for a few questions. Wheres the value in this? How are Sony making money out of this? Does any situation which actually requires me to generate more spam and further clutter up the email network actually work out beneficial?

Michael Read, a recipient of the chain-mail, said there were few obvious signs to suggest that the Sony invitation is bogus.

"My initial thought was that the offer was a bit over the top, just for sending round an email to 20 people, but then I thought 'You might as well have a go'. "

However, he said, when he followed instructions to include the designated prize email address, he received an automated reply saying that the Sony email address provided in the message did not actually exist.

Good on Sony for setting up the bounce to obviously explain what was going on.

Michael Read, you obviously never heard of Google before. 'Giving it a go'.... heard of the snowball effect? Or a Pyramid Scheme? The minute you're contacting more than 1 further person, the schema has to eventually fail / wind up involving people who've already been involved. And via email, how do you tell? See how theres so many holes in the logic?

/me sighs

Got some spam care of a friend of mine (ok, an olllld friend who I last corresponded with via email after she found me on oldfriends.co.nz) who's invited me to join "Hi5".

Another Social Virus. Orkut was one that I joined, and admittedly, whilst interesting to look at every now and then i'm not exactly a fan.

I use Oldfriends - but it somehow inspires some faith. Its also run by a reputable, local company - the Trademe group.

Hi5 - well, I had my doubts.
So I did a quick google.

NetworkSecurityArchive.org had an interesting link. Heres the bit that inspired me to post:

In the past few weeks, I have received a few messages from people that
I know, asking me to join their "network of friends" on such sites as
Ringo, Hi5 and Bebo. From what I understand, these sites offer you to
hold your address book for you. The idea is that each member keeps his
own contact info up to date, effectively keeping your own address book
up to date.
I also saw one such invitation (for Ringo) sent to a mailing list (and
the sender getting flamed for it shortly afterwards)

In one case, out of curiosity, I clicked on the link provided (it was
from hi5). The several-step form asked me for personal information
that I did not want to provide, including the *password* for the
Hotmail address I had provided !
The reason why hi5 wanted my Hotmail password was to "automatically
import my entire Hotmail address book to my hi5 account.

That's where my curiosity reached its limit: I did not go any further.

The person who initially sent me that invitation later told me that he
had received the same invitation himself, had joined the hi5 network,
and that hi5 then sent invitations to his entire address book without
him even realizing it.
I then thought that the guy who sent the Ringo invitation to the
mailing list perhaps sent it unvoluntarily as well.

[edit: updated 16 Dec with some new info... see comments]

I dunno what it is but sms.ac seems to be making the rounds in NZ all over again.

Its a subject of discussion on NZGames.com as well as on Toyspeed.

Then tonight I get spam...

Date: Thu, 2 Dec 2004 00:09:51 -0800

From: Michael Wells

To: toyspeed@

Subject: Michael Wells's invitation


I have created an account for myself and another one for you -- to send free text (SMS) messages to mobile phones. Can you
please click on the link below to complete your sign-up. Don't worry it is quick. Smile.


If you're already a member of SMS.ac, click here:




Now, I presume that Michael is someone that knows me from Toyspeed... as thats the address I use for that role only.

I assume therefore that Michael, has gone through and submitted the email addresses of people he knows as potential users. Probably based on a profit motive.

Note the message doesn't supply any header information that could be used to trace the origins of the actual referral outside of the name, which in this case, I dont recognise.

So notwithstanding the fact that someone who knows me has obviously decided its appropriate to use one of these systems - and try to recruit other members in a way which obviously offers some benefit to them (profit?? free SMS credit likely in this case) - sms.ac are obviously out to get attention again.

Unimpressed. I just added the sms.ac MTA range into my droplist, noting that it is a quite different IP to that which spammed me recently. See...

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