Microsoft vs Bot Nets

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yogi
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Microsoft vs Bot Nets

Post by yogi »

DAILY MAIL: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech ... tware.html

One of the more subtle attacks upon this country of ours by foreign powers has its roots deeply buried in the Internet. Not only are computers and mobile devices part of the attack, but so are seemingly innocuous devices generally referred to as the Internet of Things, IoT. Micorsoft had to get court permission to take action against these malicious actors, which is something of a mystery to me. Be that as it may, they got permission and severely damaged the operation of about a million machines the Russians have taken over in this country. The article describes some of the things associated with Bot Nets and I post this because it is relevant to the discussions we often have about propaganda. I don't know why there would have been legal barriers to terminating these bots, but it is heartwarming to see that Micorsoft does other things besides make software for the masses.
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Kellemora
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Re: Microsoft vs Bot Nets

Post by Kellemora »

I hear ya! I don't even like seeing folks using auto-posting software that places their ad on a social media site every hour or more often. Pretty soon you get tired of seeing the same ones day in and day out loading up the news feeds.
This is one reason I use LISTS and only look at those folks on my LISTS.
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yogi
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Re: Microsoft vs Bot Nets

Post by yogi »

I misstated the numbers in my original post. It's 9 million computers affected and not just 1 million.

The Necurs bot net has been around for many years and I have little doubt that they infiltrated Farcebook, as well as others. The idea behind those obnoxiously repetitive ads that make your eyes bleed can also be used in what is called social engineering. That is what happens when the same kind of robotics publishes lies or misleading news stories to targeted audiences. See enough of that crap and you begin to distrust what you believed in previously. That's why advertising works in the first place. It makes people reevaluate their judgment. So, if you can weaponize the news just like the propaganda in the ads, it can be very effective. However, it's an attack against the target. At the moment it's not considered an act of war but I feel that's only because not enough people are aware of the impact of such techniques. Kudos to Micorsoft for recognizing the Necurs network and doing something to lessen it's impact.
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Kellemora
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Re: Microsoft vs Bot Nets

Post by Kellemora »

Although you don't hear about it much, because it is usually paid off under the table.
Our new media sources pay out one heck of a lot of money to keep all the lawsuits quiet.
I don't know much about down here since I don't pay attention to the newspapers at all.
But back home, my late wife's cousin was an attorney for the Globe Democrat.
He handled over 24 valid lawsuits every month, about 6 per week, where at least 4 of them ended in a payout without going to court. Those that did go to court usually ended up in a settlement before the trial ended.
Freedom of the Press does not extend to lies or unproven slander or libel or even unsubstantiated negative reporting.
Most of the suits were not by politicians or city officials or even sports figures. Most were by individuals and a few business owners.
I know what you are thinking, individuals, how can that be? The newspaper rarely talks about individuals outside of government or business. Many of the lawsuits were by individuals who were interviewed about a hot topic and then misquoted or their comments taken out of context. Many will not let something like that slide.
We see a lot of it on social media, but finding he source of what was being shared is not always possible.

As an aside, a journalist who talks up or down new products did an article on my product. It was 90% positive, but he did make a couple of mistakes about my product, such as saying it worked in fresh water aquaria where it will not work at all and probably kill everything in the tank.
I let it slide because you can't ask for better free advertising than an article done impromptu by a well respected journalist. Besides, a retract of that line would probably appear back on page 133 in fine print, hi hi.
And although I could have sued the guy because it could have caused me lawsuits if anyone took his word it worked in freshwater and my product killed their fish, even though it has warnings on the label and in the instructions.
My warnings even state the water has to be above a certain salinity. So I'm pretty well covered. 25 years and only one minor lawsuit which after speaking with their attorney he told them to drop it. What they claimed my product did would have been impossible to happen. The attorney realized this when I told him what the ingredients in it were, and how they did what they did. One of the clients friends must have dumped something in the tank during a party. The attorney didn't tell me what the water test showed was in it, but everyone assumes my product contains chemicals. It does not in the sense most mean the word chemicals. It contains water, which is H2O, and salt which is NaCl, a special massequite which is C12H22O11 the same formula as table sugar, and other common ingredients not normally considered a chemical.
It does not contain Vodka, Alcohol, or any manufactured ingredient classified as a chemical. It does contain an enzyme which is cultured and added to the product, but this same enzyme is naturally occurring in most but not all aquaria. It is only added so those aquaria that do not have it, now have it, because it is integral to the functioning of my product.
If an aquarist ever used frozen aquarium food cubes to feed their fish, or a couple of other food products, like brine shrimp, etc., they already have this enzyme.
Even so, I often see comments that my product is no different than Vodka dosing, or some other dangerous trick aquarists use, all of which will cause dissolved organic carbon to remain in their aquarium and build up to dangerous levels. That's the whole thing about my product, it does not cause undissolved or dissolved organic carbon to build up in an aquarium. In fact, it helps remove existing organic carbon as a side affect, along with many other contaminants you don't want to remain in your aquarium. It is an excellent product! And does exactly what I say it will do!
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yogi
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Re: Microsoft vs Bot Nets

Post by yogi »

The kind of thing Microsoft went after is entirely different than false advertising, or in your case misstatements. Newspapers being what they are always face libel issues, and rightly so. If you can't get the story right, then you should be held libel. That mostly friendly review you received was ostensibly well intended, but the bots spreading propaganda do just the opposite. The main intention is to confuse and cause disruptions. It's no accident when North Korea, Iran, or Russia publish news stores based on conspiracy theory and under a false identity.

As I've noted before, you impress me with the quality of your work. I know you don't need any bad publicity, but the quality of your products speaks for itself. That is precisely why you have not received any cease and desist orders. The best form of advertising is word of mouth which is what makes your aquarium product a success. But, if suddenly a slew of criticisms and a bunch of people debating the merits of what you are doing happen to appear on Facebook, it's likely to be coming from an organized source and not spontaneous individual comments. It will kill your product nonetheless if that kind of criticism spreads. Now think of the same thing happening with political candidates.
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Kellemora
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Re: Microsoft vs Bot Nets

Post by Kellemora »

Yeppers!

One of the things my brother does as a side business is repair boat transmissions.
After he repairs them they are shipped without the transmission fluid in them, and he supplies the proper amount to refill them in 2-pint bottles. Along with instructions to remove some keepers and plugs he uses to protect them during shipment also.
When folks don't remove the keepers or add the oil and burn it out the first time they use it, they blame him and post it all over the Internet. Plus they get their buddies to post bad things also.

He's gone after a few of them and part of the suit had them delete their comments and post a retract.
It still cost him a lot of money for the suit, even though he won, plus the lost business.

I've had a few bad comments about my product, some from the early days before we made improvements.
But fortunately the good and excellent comments far outweigh the few who didn't use it right.

I look at it this way, if it didn't work, it wouldn't be the go to product for many aquarists for 25 years.
And ironically, they found other benefits of using it and mainly use it for that purpose.
Because they post about it, several of our sales are for a purpose we don't recommend, even though it does work for that.
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yogi
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Re: Microsoft vs Bot Nets

Post by yogi »

What evil lurks on the Internet is unknown to more than half the users of the public network because that evil is hiding in what is known as the Dark Web. The Internet, social media in particular, has become weaponized. At some point all this subversion will be outed. Given that much of it is targeted at America, I hope we are still in existence when that outing occurs.
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Kellemora
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Re: Microsoft vs Bot Nets

Post by Kellemora »

I see folks who post those LONG URL Links they manage to get off Farcebook.
Talk about handing out the ability to track and infect.
I don't use shortened URLs either, because you never know what is hidden in them.

I'll bet we don't know 90% of what goes on in the dark corners of the Internet!
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yogi
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Re: Microsoft vs Bot Nets

Post by yogi »

More than 90% of the Internet traffic is transparent. I don't know how much more, but it's a significant amount. The Dark Web I know about deals in selling such things as financial information, login credentials, drugs, malware, weapons, baby organs, child porn, sex slaves, nuclear weapons, and the Lords of the Internet only know what else. It's hard to say how much bandwidth the dark operators consume, but their estimated value of the transactions conducted exceed that of which is easy to track. Think about that for a second and how many banks and financial institutions are doing business on the Internet. The Dark Web is worth more.
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Kellemora
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Re: Microsoft vs Bot Nets

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When I got my haircut a few visits back, one of the patrons left a stack of business size cards hidden on the side of a side table, but visible if you leaned over a bit.
I picked one up and it was a strange website address, a place to buy untaxed cigarettes. With instructions on how to get to that website.
I never tried it because I figured it was either a scam to get my credit card number, or the government trying to find folks buying underground cigarettes.
I would imagine there is a difference between the Deep Web and the Dark Web, and using hidden url links to get to them.
The only one I've heard about is .onion but I've never attempted it. Afraid it will load me up with malware, hi hi.
Of course I could try it on an empty computer with a fresh OS installed, then reformat the drive after the visit, hi hi.
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yogi
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Re: Microsoft vs Bot Nets

Post by yogi »

Onion was part of the TOR browser network and well respected. It would be safe to use, but that's like using a VPN. It's not connected to anything in particular. You need to know what you are looking for and how to get there. It's really more of a concept than it is a physical network. I had to look this up on Google and they claim only 1% of the Internet is searchable. That leaves the other 99% to people Deep and Dark and outside the range of Google. I'm a little surprised at that percentage, but I'm naive about a lot of things.

Part of what you will find on the deep and dark web are archives that are semi private. For example, universities have archives of all the thesis papers their graduates ever wrote. There is some exceptional information is those kind of documents, but you can't get to them via Google. You need to know directories, subdomains, and port ID's to get to many of them. I ran into an interesting fellow on one of the social networks I used to audit. This guy took an interest in me and decided I was worthy of membership into the "By Invitation Only" hackers group he belonged to. He gave me what looked like a normal URL and I landed on a normal looking home page. From there it took four or five steps to get to the group's channel. I looked at some of the Things they were discussing and decided right there and then to never go back. I did not want to know what they were up to. Apparently there are a gazillion of such websites out there. Yes, some would be honeypots run by the Federalistas, but most of the underworld is non-threatening until you do business with those guys. You better know what you are doing at that point.

The card you found in the barber shop was put there by an amateur. The true denizens of the Dark Web would never reveal any such information as you found on the card. If you really want to explore it in a safe environment, do it in a virtual machine. It's all contained in a sandbox and can easily be disposed of quickly. :grin:
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Kellemora
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Re: Microsoft vs Bot Nets

Post by Kellemora »

I get in enough trouble without going around snooping into the abyss of hackers and scammers, hi hi.

I haven't tried it on either Comcast or my new Host, but when I was on Inlink and the BBS, I could upload a hidden folder.
It wasn't secure since anyone could just to CTRL-H to unhide it. So when I went to Comcast I just used a password protected folder to keep price sheets for wholesale buyers.
Funny thing though, search engines did pick up that folder, although no one could get into it.
I thought this was odd since search engines normally pick up documents and images on html pages, never whole folders.
Then too, maybe the search engine could see in the folder and when they went to index the document it wouldn't let them so instead it showed the folder name. It was only up for about a year then disappeared.
And come to think of it, I think it was only Web Crawler who picked it up.
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Kellemora
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Re: Microsoft vs Bot Nets

Post by Kellemora »

PS, your site went down around 11:05 and was out for around a half hour.
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yogi
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Re: Microsoft vs Bot Nets

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A couple weeks ago Google sent me a threatening warning about a broken link to a section in one of our archive sites. The section had categories and in there is where the posted topics reside. They never got to the topics to view the content because they claimed the path to them was invalid. It was invalid the way they constructed it, which nobody in the real world including myself can do. It involves using the root directory which is forbidden, yet Google found it and complained they couldn't navigate it. I felt like writing them back to tell them to keep their goddamed crawler out of my forbidden directories, but figured it wouldn't ever reach a real person. It was a robot that erroneously composed it in the first place. So, yeah, they will find directories but why they consider it content that can be indexed is beyond me.

I know the site was down today, yesterday, and the day before. I've had this problem with them in the past and they "fixed" it. Back then the site was crashing 12 hours earlier. I'm sure they are doing some kind of maintenance that overloads the server but they will never admit to it. It's also possible one of the shared sites on this server is running something resource intensive. If it continues to be a problem I'll bug them again.

I hope our hosing server didn't catch any viruses
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Kellemora
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Re: Microsoft vs Bot Nets

Post by Kellemora »

I know from our book promotion site, when the gal is adding books or working on the site, you can't get in while she is in.
I don't know why that is, because I know you can get into my website, except for the split second I'm uploading a new Index.html page. And even then, it should make a difference unless they hit at the exact same second I did.
But those website where you work on them using the host provided program, perhaps they are not accessible while the owner has it open for editing?

What I'm actually getting on very rare occasions from this site is a Time Out while trying to load. No error messages. And if I wait and try every once in a while, after it comes back up, it still posts the message I was working on. Most sites won't. So that is good!
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yogi
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Re: Microsoft vs Bot Nets

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I've seen the timeout message too. It's a problem connecting to the server. So, whatever you have in your browser's text editor display window remains there. The issue is that we are not on a dedicated server. I looked into it once and the increase in price to get our own was not that bad. If it were more than just the two of us here I might even consider it now. It amazes me that they can run multiple web sites on a single server to begin with, and for most of the day it's not a problem. But, I know the host does back up things and that has to bog down the resources when doing that. I think part of the problem is that the databases for all the websites are on a different server than the main site. Thus we are actually trying to connect to two servers. Either one can cause an error but sometimes I see a specific SQL error. That means we connected but not to the database. Unfortunately, we need the database to gener4ate our web pages. LOL
Last edited by yogi on 21 Mar 2020, 17:45, edited 1 time in total.
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Kellemora
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Re: Microsoft vs Bot Nets

Post by Kellemora »

I imagine it makes sense to keep certain things on different servers to keep everything running normally and more fluid.

Going back a number of years here, but I used an old computer as a print server. It didn't have enough memory to do diddly squat. But it did take the load off my other only main computer at the time.
I guess they still work this way today, but when you go to print something to a printer, it sends each page one at at time.
Or if you want to print 250 pages, it still sends one page at a time bogging down the computer until the job finishes.
But for me, using the make-shift print server was a god send, because I only had to send one page to the print server, then tell it to make 250 copies and divide the work up between all 12 printers, which was 21 pages to each printer.
I owned a high speed crash printer at the time too, and that row of Lexmark printers could beat the crash printer, hi hi.
My dilemma when I only had the crash printer for those jobs was, if it broke, I was out of business for a week or longer.
I couldn't have that when I got the final print order on Saturday for delivery that night, hi hi.
I was just lucky a friend knew how to drive six printers at once and how to hook them up and write the program.
From what he did, I figured out I could add six more printers and have all 12 going at the same time, hi hi.
The cost to buy 6 printers was cheaper than a single repair bills on the crash printer, hi hi.
I eventually sold the crash printer to a company who did bulk mail for nearly double of what I paid for it. So it was a win win for me, hi hi.
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yogi
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Re: Microsoft vs Bot Nets

Post by yogi »

You are right about extra servers sharing the load. In the case of web hosting keeping the data on a different machine, that also adds security and reliability. The people I deal with must have a building full of servers all for different purposes. All they do is patch them together to suit the needs of their customers. Since they only deal in website hosting it makes maintenance a lot easier.

I never tried to run more than one printer at a time in Windows. It looks as if it would be fairly simple to set up; just keep adding hardware to the printer configuration. As it stands now with my single HP printer I can not only have it print but also send FAX documents - not that anybody still does that. The only glitch in the scheme is that all the printers must be on the same network. If they aren't, then a separate print server would be needed.

There is something called a print que which is just a buffer for print jobs. It's not configurable by the ordinary user, but it doesn't have to work the way it does, i.e., one page at a time. It should be able to hold as many pages as the hard disk it's on will allow. That's probably what your friend altered when he wrote the print driver for you.
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Kellemora
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Re: Microsoft vs Bot Nets

Post by Kellemora »

The thing I remember most about those tri-fold pamphlet days and my Lexmark Printers was they all did not start instantly, but instead started one right after the other like a sequential tail-light on some cars.
Now that was the first row he set up. When I set up the second row, they still started one right after the other, but the order they started was sorta random, even when I paid attention to which one started first and move the cable for that one to #7, etc. on down the second row. Didn't seem to make a difference.
I really wish I took a picture of that crazy set-up. I had four gallon jugs of ink on a small shelf above the row of printers.
A tube came out of each gallon jug and down to the front of the shelf to a header. Then twelve small tubes ran from the header for each color, and to each of the printers. Looks like a huge rain shower of tubes. And when the printers were running they danced and sometimes even made like a sine wave the way they moved.
It was a pain in the arse if I had to change out a cartridge with print head, especially the color ones. Very tricky to get the hose in just right to prevent flooding, dripping, or not enough ink.

The print queue only held one page, not all of them like when printing from the computer.
It just repeated the same page over and over, which may have gone into another print queue, that part I don't remember how he did it.
If it were not for being able to buy the right ink in gallon jugs for a cheap price, I could have never done color work. Especially when a lot of the pages were almost all color, and the ink had to dry as permanent ink too. But that was more a feature of the special gloss gel production paper (not photo paper) I was using than the actual ink itself.
Speaking of which. Darn near ruined a laser printer when I went to use that paper in a laser by mistake. No can do!
I had about four more cases of the stuff sitting around when I sold my pamphlet business to an offset printer who was already doing the same thing for other attractions. In fact, we worked together for about six months, I would do the design and layout work, and he would do the printing, plus he had a guy who went around to restock the display cases too. He hired a gal who eventually took over what I was doing, because I wasn't supposed to be there that long after the sale. I did things a lot differently than he did, and for some reason, he just couldn't do it that way, he was used to using all different programs, none of which I knew how to use, hi hi.

You should see some of the printing machines they have these days that do everything.
Xerox has a bank of machines all connected together designed for specific needs, such as all those advertising envelopes you get with a few different types of pages in them. It prints the main page, and any supplemental pages, collates them, adds in the pre-printed smaller sheets, or it can print them too, folds and puts them in an envelop with a return envelope and stacks them up in the bin. And if they use CAR-RT mailing lists, they get a divider between each route the envelopes go to. Amazing to watch run! And FAST!
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yogi
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Re: Microsoft vs Bot Nets

Post by yogi »

No doubt that some of the successes you had in business is due to the apparent fact that you have some Rube Goldberg genes in your body. LOL The envelope company I worked at had a printing department that was labor intensive. They did a lot of offset lithography that produced beautiful results, but as was the case in the office I worked in a few good computers could have replaced the entire printing department. Small companies can't make the investments in automation to become profitable so that they have to do things the traditional way. Then again, I'm not sure how traditional your printing business was. LOL
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