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Friday, February 18, 2005

Update - another blogspot blog that transmitts viruses and spyware

Update to my Spyware on Blogspot? post.

Gilbert Wesley Purdy over at Obiter Dicta experienced the same issue I warned of January 24, 2005: using the "next blog" button on blogspot hosted blogs may bring you to a blog that can infect your computer with a virus or spyware. Gilbert's excellent account of his time consuming experience can be found here.

Because our old blogspot blog is still operational with the "next blog" button, I put the following warning on all of the blog pages:

CAUTION: Mallory & Tsibouris Co., LPA does not endorse the use of the "Next Blog" icon at the upper right hand corner of this blog. Please see this post for further information.

Below is Blogger's response to my concerns. My experience prompted me to move my blog from mtlaw.blogspot.com to mt-law.com/blog:

Hi there,

Thanks for your email. In this version 1.0 release of the Blogger Navbar,the NextBlog button brings users to a random blog that 1) has a navbar, 2) was recently updated and 3) is listed as a public blog. Right now, it's impossible to know what sort of blog you're going to land on. However, we are working on how best to help our users avoid content they don't want tosee along with other ideas and upgrades to the Navbar. Your feedback is appreciated in this process.

Please note that you can turn the Navbar on or off at your leisure if you use Blogger's FTP option together with your own hosting provider. This option is located in the "Template" section of your Blogger account. Users of Blogger's free hosting service do not have the option of turning the Navbar off.

Sincerely,Blogger SupportOriginal Message
Follows:------------------------From: Alvin Borromeo {U 754807} Subject: Use of
Next BlogDate: Sun, 23 Jan 2005 06:56:50 -0800 (PST) I used the "Next Blog" feature and went to nana294.blogspot.com [WARNING, don't go to the site on the left]. My PC immediatly gave me messages indicative of spyware being loaded onto mymachine. Sure enough, my browser now opens up to searchmiracle.com.How do you remove the "Next Blog" feature from my weblog?


Blogger Moe said...

May I ask which browser you were using..?

9:18 AM  
Blogger me said...

I'm fully expecting a chorus of "I told you so's" but I use IE 6.0

11:35 AM  
Blogger txGeek said...

I don't think this should be considered a blogger only problem. The spammers and virus writers are simply finding new avenues to distribute their malware. Of course, Blogger should do what they can to prevent it but they can't police the entire Internet.

I've had this talk with my Mother, my ex, my boss, and several clients already. Do the right thing, switch to another browser that isn't as vulnerable as IE. Then send Microsoft a letter telling them why you switched, or tell your company's MS sales representative. Eventually, as IE loses more and more market share to competitive browsers they will fix the problem.

12:12 PM  
Blogger Ben Edelman said...

See also the screenshots and videos I posted, showing this same behavior.

Blogspot properly blocks user-submitted JavaScript in blog posts. Why not in headers and footers? I don't know. That's the natural fix, though, and perhaps Google will tweak its rules accordingly in light of this matter.

2:31 PM  
Blogger me said...

Ben, excellent article and research. Thank you for the comment.

3:39 PM  
Blogger Moe said...

IE is a product which is known to be more vulnerable to exploits than any other browser. Generally, if you visit sites you don't know, you are taking a certain security risc. That's what it boils down to, and I dont't think it has too much to do with if blogspot is hosting malicious content or if anybody else does...

So it's more like that visiting any unknown web page "may bring you to a blog that can infect your computer with a virus or spyware", and it is more likely to happen if you use IE.

3:55 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Thanks for taking the time to research and post this. It does seem strange that javascript is allowed in templates but not in posts. But I've had occasion to include javascript in the template of some of my Blogger blogs. It was for trackback, as implemented by Haloscan. Of course, if it was built into Blogger... but that's another story.

11:24 PM  
Blogger me said...

Andrew, you are welcome. The "research" was unintended, however I felt that people should be warned of the danger.

12:38 AM  
Blogger valueprep.com said...

If one or all have the capability to transmit then safeguards need to be automatically or manually installed to filter out the malicious activities of others. That must be done before blogs become even more mainstream.
My lord, I certainly hope I don't get infected just because I'm visiting any mere blog whether blogspot based or not.
Take care and great piece,
B. Maloney
relationship advice guy

2:19 PM  

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