Housekeeping: Links and More

Weekends are usually slow times for traffic here at PlagiarismToday. However, a recent mention on This Week in Tech’s del.icio.us site has driven an inordinately high number of visitors here these past 48 hours.

However, before I move on to other content, I have a few minor housekeeping issues that I need to go over.

Popup Links

First off, I’ve changed the way that in article links are handled on this site. Previously, any and all links that pointed to external sites opened up in a new window. This has been changed to bring the site more in line with blogging standards. Being a bit of an old school Webmaster, I tend to follow more traditional conventions that are sometimes dates. This is one of them.

However, my policy of using the rel=”nofollow” tag for links that point to sites implicated in plagiarism will not change. This is to prevent such sites from gaining Google pagerank and gaining other benefits from their link on Plagiarism Today.

Spam Attack

Also, I have the rather frustrating task of reporting that, late last night, Plagiarism Today became the unwitting victim of a spam attack. A spammer, who was attempting to send out a mass of “stock tip” emails, tried to use my contract form to his letters.

It appears, right now, that the attack was unsuccessful in sending out the spam. Though I personally received hundreds of copies of the letter, the script itself does not, according to my host, have access to the outside mail server. It appears that the worst consequence of this attack was the drain on the server’s resources, which caused this site to be almost inaccessible for about three hours.

I am continuing to look into this matter to ensure that no one was spammed and, in the meantime, have upgraded my contact form (to make it completely useless to spammers) and added another layer of security software to ensure that spambots don’t attempt anything like this again.

Long story short, successful or not, I will not let it happen again.

Update: It does appear that at least some spam went out. How much, how this happened and why my ISP thought that the form didn’t have access to the mail server are all valid questions that I don’t have the answer to. However, given the nature of the attack and how quickly it was stopped, it’s unlikely that a significant amount went out, at least in terms of spam.

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