06:19 AM

Stopping Google Blog Spam

Removing spam from your Google blog - in seven 'easy' steps

4:19 PM -- Today is no different from yesterday or the day before: Nope, it’s just another day that Google has made things a little worse for Yours Truly. Full disclosure: I don’t actually use Google anymore. I’ve long since realized that Yahoo’s Overture actually has better results than Google and a much bigger index, which helps when searching for esoteric strings. So the only time I find myself on the search giant is when I’m bug hunting or debugging someone else’s problem.

That brings me to my first Google rant of the day. My girlfriend emailed me today, asking if Google was down. Clickity clickity... Nope, looks good to me. But it appeared that every time she went to the page, she was getting something that looked like this:

Figure 1:

It appears that someone at her office did something that caused Google to basically shut down "search" for everyone in the office. Most Internet users would be helpless without Google, but thankfully my girlfriend knows the ways of Yahoo, so she continued about her day. But there are still hundreds of people at her company left without Google search for as yet-unknown reasons.

Google provides no way to rectify the situation, so guys like me end up playing tech support for them. I tell people to use another search engine. (I’m probably not the best Google tech support person, am I? I’m guessing they aren’t banking on me telling hundreds of people at a time to stay off their site.)

After the drama, I look through Technorati and find a spammer on Blogspot. (See Attackers Abuse Google Blogger .) The spammer has decided to take my content and re-post it as its own. That wouldn’t be a problem, except that they’ve posted it to the Google-owned Blogspot. Google isn’t just a search company -- it's also an advertising company, and it often hosts security hole-ridden beta applications and spam. You’d think it would be easy enough to tell Google to cease and desist with the spam, but no. That would be too easy and responsible of Google. So here’s the easy seven-step process for removing spammer’s content from Blogspot:

  1. Identify the content on Blogspot that is infringing on your copyright. (So far so good.)

  2. Show where your original content lives and the date that you posted it. (Easy enough.)

  3. Provide contact info. (Not sure why that’s necessary to remove a spammer, but okay...)

  4. Include the statement “I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted material described above on the allegedly infringing web pages is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.” (Um... okay?)

  5. Include the statement “I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.” (Why didn’t Google just add those two sentences together and make them one bullet?)

  6. Sign the paper. (Yes, PAPER... Right back to 1980 we go!)

  7. Send or fax the paper to Google. (I could have sworn Google was an Internet company!)

Google has actually made it harder to stop a spammer than it is to be a spammer. And people who have been infringed upon actually have to spend money -- long-distance phone call or postage -- to stop spammers on Google’s own domain. This by no means guarantees that it will be removed in a timely manner, either. Isn’t it time we demand Google fix its own problems rather than placing the burden on everyone else?

At a minimum, let’s demand that Google’s legal department start using email.

– RSnake is a red-blooded lumberjack whose rants can also be found at Ha.ckers and F*the.net. Special to Dark Reading

  • Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)

    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    More Insights
  • Comments
    Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
    Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
    Dark Reading Live EVENTS
    INsecurity - For the Defenders of Enterprise Security
    A Dark Reading Conference
    While red team conferences focus primarily on new vulnerabilities and security researchers, INsecurity puts security execution, protection, and operations center stage. The primary speakers will be CISOs and leaders in security defense; the blue team will be the focus.
    White Papers
    Cartoon Contest
    Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
    Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
    Current Issue
    Security Vulnerabilities: The Next Wave
    Just when you thought it was safe, researchers have unveiled a new round of IT security flaws. Is your enterprise ready?
    Flash Poll
    [Strategic Security Report] Assessing Cybersecurity Risk
    [Strategic Security Report] Assessing Cybersecurity Risk
    As cyber attackers become more sophisticated and enterprise defenses become more complex, many enterprises are faced with a complicated question: what is the risk of an IT security breach? This report delivers insight on how today's enterprises evaluate the risks they face. This report also offers a look at security professionals' concerns about a wide variety of threats, including cloud security, mobile security, and the Internet of Things.
    Twitter Feed
    Dark Reading - Bug Report
    Bug Report
    Enterprise Vulnerabilities
    From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
    Published: 2017-05-09
    NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

    Published: 2017-05-08
    unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

    Published: 2017-05-08
    A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

    Published: 2017-05-08
    Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

    Published: 2017-05-08
    Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.