Saturday, December 22, 2007

Covenant Eyes Needs Accountability

Here's yet another company making money from hitting your server without permission.

This one is an online service called Covenant Eyes that has a Net Nanny type of service that's been hitting one of my sites for ages. Over time they have requested thousands of pages, never got anything but an error message, but always keep trying using a blank user agent.

They operate from this range of IP's:

Covenant Eyes, Inc MOG-69-41-14-0 (NET-69-41-14-0-1) -
Yesterday they suddenly started using this user agent after years of being blank: "libcurl-agent/1.0"
The website claims:
Covenant Eyes Software provides Internet Integrity with accountability reports.
I guess it depends on who defines "Internet Integrity" or "accountability" because I personally don't find much integrity or accountability in hiding why you're hitting my website behind blank user agents or some default user agent.

The site also claims:
A church in town lost it's pastor to porn...
Which brings up the point that any rogue webmaster could cloak very bad content to Covenant Eyes and think it's funny to get someone in trouble that has an "accountability report" sent to a boss, spouse or parent so I hope someone checks to make sure these reports are accurate before punishing someone.

IMO blocking 69.41.14.* should stop their members from being "tempted" to visit your sites.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Snared Human Claims "I Ain't No Bot!"

When you snare a human in your bot trap they might be a little feisty and squirm a little. Those snared humans may even send you a scathing email claiming complete innocence, your tools are broken, bad bot blocker, BAD!

Amazing that his tool appears to be the one broken, not mine!

I nicely replied to this snared human and asked if he could explain why he downloaded a couple of hundred pages in just a few minutes, many of them the same page over and over and over again, sometimes several per second.

Sorry Mr. Human but your browser exhibits the same behavior as one of those high speed scrapers that have attacked me in the past and you were shut down for behaving badly.

I suspect he has PRE-FETCH enabled which is amusing because I have PRE-FETCH disabled server-side, so if he has it enabled it didn't identify itself as PRE-FETCH which is why he was snared.

Oh boo hoo, guess you'll just have to go waste someone else's bandwidth using that stupid browser that keeps downloading the same pages as fast as it can download them.

I won't miss you and don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Yahoo! Ignorance Shines in ShoeMoney Reputation Attack

Q: What do you do when your payment processing anti-fraud detection doesn't work?

A: It appears you fire your referring affiliate if your name is Yahoo!

That's right boys and girls, according to ShoeMoney the nitwits at Yahoo! obviously can't detect a fraudulent transaction and then blame someone who's under fire with a blatant reputation attack.

Now Yahoo! Stores and other properties do a lot of payment processing so they should have a ton of historical data, potentially from valid uses of the stolen credit cards themselves, so wouldn't you think with all this information they could flag a few fraud sales?

Apparently not.

OK, even if you don't have any historical data on the customer there are a few things you can do to easily combat what appears, based on the volume of transactions, to be automated fraud short of firing one of your affiliates.

1. Validate the account with email confirmation BEFORE processing the credit card in a 2 step process known as AUTH and BOOK. You pre-authorize the sale first, setting aside the money until you're sure the sale is valid and then BOOK the sale after the fact.

2. Require that the account creation and/or checkout page use several forms of automation blocking such as javascript and/or some form of captcha.

3. Obviously use full AVS (Address Verification) and require CSC / CVV2 (Credit Card Security Code) to make sure everything is OK per the credit card company.

4. Use GeoIP services to check that the IP address placing the order is even close to the actual address on the order and if not, flag it for human review before processing.

5. Do some basic IP blocking and restrict access to those account creation pages from hosting data centers, lists of known proxy servers, botnets and spammers.

There's a couple of other steps I'd take as well, but if someone could get past the 5 steps above without anything tripping at least one alarm for human review, I'd be shocked. Even if it was a human manually performing the attack the GeoIP should indicate a problem unless Yahoo just ignores it.

The only thing that cracks me up is ShoeMoney wanted to know what the referring URLs were and it's meaningless because the referring URL can be easily spoofed or blocked so it's a useless piece of information.

Consider that whoever did this only needed to visit your site one time to get your affiliate code and then using automation abuse it over and over again without ever visiting your site a second time and claiming in the referrer to be always coming from your site.

Cute huh?

Better yet, they didn't have to visit your site EVER because you allow your pages to be cached in the search engines so anyone could get your affiliate code directly from the search engines without leaving a trail on your website.

I've been preaching about using the meta "NOARCHIVE" for years now and this is just another reason to use it, but nobody listens and I digress...

Just to prove that the Michelle from Yahoo! was completely clueless about how internet fraud works she asked ShoeMoney to do the following:

I wanted to give you a heads up in advance to see if there was anyway you could filter or prevent fraudulent users from coming through your website/links. If so, we’d like to continue our partnership.
The odds are very high that this activity isn't passing through ShoeMoney's site whatsoever, even if it's being done manually, because they don't want to leave a trail that's too obvious.

Sorry to see you get the boot Shoe (punny) but it would appear that Yahoo! doesn't mind making a public spectacle of their shortcomings and now it's open season on YSM thanks to them admitting they can't tell a fraud transaction.

This should be loads of fun to see what happens next.