After what has happened in terms of the sustained attacks we've received over the past few days, I think it's appropriate to send out a warning to all of our readers and the rest of the people out there on the IntarWebs...
I've spent the better part of a week fending off what are called spam-bots. These are really just scripts that jerks write who want to get past the spam filters on the comments and trackbacks sections of a website in order to post their own drivel like "Make your member larger" and "Buy Cialis" or "Come see my log-like male member". You know, the really high-brow kinds of comments everyone really wants on their site. *deadpans*
How they work is they use what's called anonymous open proxy servers to repeatedly and doggedly bombard a site's comment or trackback feature with spam messages. An over-simplified explanation of an anonymous proxy is rather like an old-school mail forwarding location (remember Mailboxes Etc.) that allows you to visit a website (or attack it) without exposing your own IP address (your address on the net) to the attacked computer. There are legitimate uses for them, but legitimate use is about 2% of the overall use of these proxies.
Anyway, the point of this is to send out a warning to all of you out there. Get some damned virus protection. I've had to ban over 100,000 IP addresses and counting from accessing any site on our server. A large chunk of those IP are attached to home computers, computers just like yours, that have been taken over by a virus and the owner doesn't even know it.
There are literally millions of what we geeks call "zombie bots" out there on the Internet that have been taken over by some asshole who is using someone's ignorance to attack our site and thousands of others.
So, if you find yourself blocked from this site or other sites in the future, run a virus scan. Check to see if you've been compromised. If you're running Windows, you're already 50 times more likely to be compromised and I can't even begin to calculate the likelihood of being targeted.
In this day and age it just amazes me to no end the number of people out there not protecting themselves and making the Internet a shitty place for the rest of us. Virus protection is cheap. Firewalls come built in for every major operating system. USE THEM PEOPLE!!! Otherwise, you're going to find yourselves repeatedly locked out, shut down, and that's not fun for anyone.
Which leads me to a special note to those webmasters and server administrators out there that have allowed their machines to get hacked and have become massive open proxy servers for millions of spam messages a day: You're all assholes. Put some basic protections on your systems! Run your updates regularly to patch the known vulnerabilities! And watch your freaking bandwidth usage! If one machine is attacking me enough to use 18+Mbps in bandwidth, your bandwidth usage has to be off the hook. Any trained monkey can look at a bandwidth usage graph and understand it. Perhaps you shouldn't be hosting websites if you're not going to be ensuring the security and integrity of the machines you're putting on the Internet.
We're still seeing attacks from time to time, but we've now automated the banning feature, so the attacks aren't sustained like they were before. I still have to intervene from time to time to refresh the banlist, but the jerks get added to it automatically now.
Please get some virus protection and a firewall on your computer folks. It's really not optional anymore. I can't stress this enough. Those of you without these basic protections ruin it for the rest of us. Please feel free to contact me (jerame at bilerico.com - replace the at with @ and put it all together) if you need help or advice in this area. I'd rather be bombarded with pleas for help than pleas to buy Viagra or see big boobs.