How Gmail lets spammers grab your attention with emoji

by @edent | # # # # | 5 comments | Read ~8,743 times.

What could be worse than email spam? Animated gifs in the subject line of email spam! This is a trend I’ve recently started to see on Gmail – here’s what it looks like and how it works. So, what’s going on here? How have they got an animated image into the subject line? Here’s the…

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Talking about SMS Spam with Radio 4

by @edent | # # # # # | Read ~106 times.

Earlier this week I appeared on BBC Radio 4’s “You And Yours” to talk about the scourge of SMS Spam. You can listen to it on their website – or, if it has expired, I’ve grabbed an audio clip for your listening pleasure. I’ve asked the Direct Marketing Associate to create a “Do Not Text”…

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Dealing with SMS Spam from @PaddyPower

by @edent | # # # # # | 7 comments | Read ~3,815 times.

This is a cautionary tale of how my personal details have been repeatedly sold and resold by a British network of spammers – each of them turning a blind eye to the provenance of their data. I’m calling on the Direct Marketing Association to create a universal opt-out file – just like they do with…

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This is what a graph of 8,000 fake Twitter accounts looks like

by @edent | # # # # | 11 comments | Read ~50,305 times.

Recently I’ve been plagued with Tweets saying that I’m “trending in London.” As flattering as that is, it’s not true. There appears to be a network of Twitter bots which are randomly repeating other people’s tweets, ripping off avatars and bios, and generally causing a nuisance. Looking at the users’ Twitter name, I don’t think…

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McAfee's Failure of Trust

by @edent | # # # | Read ~226 times.

Running a website is hard. Let me clarify – setting up a website is dead simple – keeping it running and updated is tricky. Now, for some of us, it doesn’t really matter whether our sites live or die. But for big companies like McAfee it’s not simple to switch off a site – especially…

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My Facebook is not Your Facebook – AKA Block Early, Block Often

by @edent | # # | Read ~1,137 times.

I got into an argument with a friend a few weeks ago. I was complaining that I really didn’t like the spam that Facebook shoves into my newsfeed. His argument was – and I paraphrase… I don’t mind the occasional advert – between the Farmville notifications and “inspirational” quotes, I barely notice them. For me,…

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Dark Patterns – Opt-Out / Opt-In

by @edent | # # # # | Read ~898 times.

Hanlon’s Razor states, “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” It would be nice to think that all mistakes and errors we encounter are just the result of bone-headedness. Sadly, that’s not the case. Quite often malicious people deliberately try to trick you into taking actions you would normally have ignored.…

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The Unsecured State Part 5 – Abandoned Inquiries

by @edent | # # # # | 6 comments | Read ~1,458 times.

This is part 5 of a series of blog posts looking at the security of the UK Government’s web infrastructure. The primary cause of the vulnerabilities I’ve exposed over this series is abandonment. In a flurry of excitement a website is commissioned and created. Then, as time wears on, people begin to drift away from…

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The Unsecured State Part 4 – UK Government Websites Spewing Spam

by @edent | # # # # # | 5 comments | Read ~5,089 times.

This is part 4 of a series of blog posts looking at the security of the UK Government’s web infrastructure. Over the last few days, I’ve shown that hundreds of websites run by branches of the UK state are in a perilous state of disrepair. There are multiple sites with hugely embarrassing XSS flaws, running…

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Where is this Pinterest Spam Coming From?

by @edent | # # # | Read ~182 times.

I’ve started seeing an uptick in Twitter spam – ostensibly from my friends telling me I can make money online. The common denominator is that they all use Pinterest as a vector for spreading the spam. Looking at the accounts of people who have recently tweeted these or similar messages, shows that the majority are…

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