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Category: technology

Creative spam, fake domain web bots

Creative spam, fake domain web bots

This is a highly creative piece of election spam. I checked my Google Analytics account after a long time to see the statistics for my personal website http://satishkatiyar.com/. I noticed that there were lots of visits to my site from Russia !

spamgeo

Russia ? I only know a handful people in Russia. Slicing the data by languages showed an interesting new language – literally “Secret.ɢoogle.com You are invited! Enter only with this ticket URL. Copy it. Vote for Trump!”, among other languages like “en-us” (US English) and “en-gb” (UK English).

spamlang

This surely grabbed my attention, not only the new language but also the content. It’s asking me to vote for Trump. Folks, the election is over and Trump is the president-elect.

But then I wondered about the call to action. What URL does it want me to go to? http://secret.google.com/ ? There is no such URL. Looking at it closely, I see the “G” in Google is not the regular “g” character. That domain (ɢoogle.com) is not the same as “google.com” or “Google.com”, which both belong to the search engine giant. Following the URL solved it. The browser was redirected to another site “http://secret.xn--oogle-wmc.com/” which does not exist now.

spamdomain

Ok, so the spam mystery solved. But I am still left wondering who should be protecting the vast majority of population who are not technology savvy, from such fake domain names? It is Google’s responsibility to protect themselves and users by registering all the possible domain names including spelling errors and such creative use of characters? Or should it be ICANN (domain name authority) who is held responsible for such fake domain names? Worth thinking about, while we are grappling with the issue of fake news.

spamfakenews

 

Shuttle Endeavor over the bay

Shuttle Endeavor over the bay

I was lucky to spot shuttle Endeavor last Fri (Sep 21) hitching a ride on the modified Boeing 747 and being escorted by a fighter jet. What a sight! It didn’t come cheap. My wife told me about the event just a few minutes before it was due to fly over the bay. I was not feeling well but this was a rare enough opportunity to get out of the bed and take out the camera. I drove to Coyote Hills and then ran up one of the hills – at least 500 ft high ! By the time I reached the top of the hill, I was out of breath, almost dead. But I was soon rewarded with this great sight. I had my 500 mm zoom lens but unfortunately my camera sensor was not clean and I had not tested the camera settings before taking the pictures. Oh well. Still, I think the shot I got is better than not getting one. It was beautiful.