Milky Way over Deadvlei in Namibia - [image: What planet is this?] What planet is this?
12 hours ago
Your blog requires word verificationIt seems Blogger is taking the news that it is being used to create numerous spam blogs seriously. They have even put up a page explaining what they are doing to fight spam blogs. While I've always found CAPTCHAs annoying and even though spammers are learning to defeat CAPTCHAs, you can hardly blame Blogger for trying to fight spam somehow. I for one wish them well.
Blogger's spam-prevention robots have detected that your blog has characteristics of a spam blog. (What's a spam blog?) Since you're an actual person reading this, your blog is probably not a spam blog. Automated spam detection is inherently fuzzy, and we sincerely apologize for this false positive.
Before we can turn off mandatory word verification on your posts we'll need to have a human review your blog and verify that it is not a spam blog. Please fill out the form below to get a review.
Find out more about how Blogger is fighting spam blogs.
"But I still believe that the best evidence we have suggests that we should not expect to see human beings anywhere in the universe except Earth. We should not expect to see Indian elephants or any other forms of life that are genetically, functionally and cerebrally similar to us. I strongly suspect that our closest relatives in the universe are here on Earth, and they’re not likely to be elsewhere."
Following is AVG's official response to LinkScanner concerns:I couldn't find any reference to this on AVG's website but it's late and I wasn't looking too hard. A quick google search leads a blog post which link to comments from an article by The Register on the controversy. Among those comments is one by (presumably the same) Pat Bitton:
We’d like to thank our web community for bringing these challenges to our attention, as building community trust and protecting all of our users is critical to us. We have modified the Search-Shield component of LinkScanner to only notify users of malicious sites; this modified version will be rolled out on July 9th 2008. As of this date. Search-Shield will no longer scan each search result online for new exploits, which was causing the spikes that webmasters addressed with us. However, it is important to note that AVG still offers full protection against potential exploits through the Active Surf-Shield component of our product, which checks every page for malicious content as it is visited but before it is opened.
Response from AVGThese two comments suggest that AVG is taking this problem seriously and is working hard to fix it. Hopefully their update will do just that. In the meantime, I've reinstalled AVG antivirus without the Safe-Search component which includes LinkScanner. I've done this even though Firefox 3 is not affected by LinkScanner because AVG's Search Shield extension doesn't work with the newest version of Firefox. But you never know when you'll want or need to use Internet Explorer right?
By Pat Bitton
Posted Saturday 14th June 2008 02:59 GMT
Hi, folks. Pat Bitton from AVG here. This issue has clearly raised some concerns that we had not anticipated, and we acknowledge that we need to do something. Our primary purpose with LinkScanner, as Roger Thompson has pointed out, is to protect users against web-based threats that they cannot see. These threats are also usually invisible to web site operators, who presumably also don't wish to be unwittingly passing infections on to their visitors. This kind of problem can and does affect all types of web sites, big or small, and is extremely transient - which is why we don't use the static database approach cited by some as a viable alternative. Over the next few days, we will be exploring ways in which we can continue to deliver informed protection as unobtrusively as possible without adversely impacting site analytics. Any webmaster reading this post who is interested in working with us constructively to reach this goal is welcome to contact me at pat.bitton(at)avg.com.
"In order to make an omelet you have to crack some eggs. But a good omelet has cheese, ham, peppers, mushrooms and all sorts of other ingredients which AVG seem to have forgotten about."While the controversy over the LinkScanner's bandwidth hogging and traffic skewing is a serious problem, the problem of websites that install malware on your computer is very real. Tools like LinkScanner would seem to be necessary to protect less sophisticated users of vulnerable operating systems (like Windows, there I've said it) from having their computers attacked by websites which knowingly or not are hosting malware which exploits unprotected computers.