Tag Archives: hurricane

Recycling the News

The practice of recycling old news articles still throws me off at times. For instance: here are two recent LA Times articles using big disasters as springboards to talk about possible giant earthquake scenarios in California. They start out talking about the Houston flooding from Harvey and yesterday’s quake in Mexico, then segue into Los Angeles disaster planning. By the end, they’ve segued into the same text. I was reading today’s and thinking, “I just read this, recently.” A ten-second search turned up the older article.

It’s not plagiarism. It’s the same reporter at the same newspaper. It’s basically the equivalent of stock footage, and it’s hardly the only example. It’s probably not even a new practice, just a lot easier to find now that everything’s online and searchable.

Relief Spam Dilemma

This is incredibly bizarre. Today I’ve started getting spam which is clearly coming from zombies and using fake return addresses and forged headers, but the content is a plaintext message encouraging hurricane relief donations and linking to the legitimate Red Cross and FEMA websites. There’s one further link, to arc.convio.net, but the ISC reports that the site is legit.

It literally looks like some spammer decided to encourage donations to the relief effort, picked an organization he figured most people would recognize, and plugged the message into his usual spam software.

I can’t decide what to do about them! On one hand, they’re spam. They’re unsolicited, they’re using spammer techniques, and they’re clearly not associated with the Red Cross. And we’ve always said the issue is “consent, not content.” But if the ISC is right, they’re not trying to pull a fast one like the scams and spyware installers that are leeching off of the catastrophe.

I keep thinking I should train the filter on them anyway, just like I would add political or religious spam, or an everyday charity that decided to start spamming for donations… but for some reason I just can’t bring myself to do it.

Talk about lousy timing

The SANS Internet Storm center, which has found itself dealing with the fallout on the Internet from a quite literal storm, is reporting that a vulnerability in Dameware (apparently a remote admin system for Windows) is being exploited. Ordinarily the solution would be to tell people to download the update… but the Dameware website is in New Orleans. Fortunately, the UK-based site is up.

Not everyone in New Orleans has gone offline. Netcraft reports that domain registrar DirectNIC has held on through Katrina and its aftermath. Being located 11 floors up in an area that hasn’t flooded yet probably helps. That, and having three weeks’ worth of backup power.