I got this email today, and I almost believed it. It’s a typical http://user:password@hostname/ trick. In this case, the user is tricked into thinking that http://www.paypal.com:firstname.lastname@example.org/ is a PayPal URL when in fact it’s actually a website served up by http://p9.da.ru/
Here’s the full source of the email message:
Received: from m1.netfirms.com (m1.netfirms.com [184.108.40.206])
by netspace.org (8.11.6/8.11.6) with SMTP id h410rTR11497
for <email@example.com>; Wed, 30 Apr 2003 20:53:29 -0400
Received: (qmail 48211 invoked from network); 1 May 2003 00:53:51 -0000
Received: from unknown (@192.168.60.10)
by m1.netfirms.com with QMQP; 1 May 2003 00:53:51 -0000
Date: 1 May 2003 00:53:51 -0000
To: "" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: "PayPal Staff" <email@example.com>
Subject: PayPal System Update *Urgent Please Read*
X-Spam-Status: No, hits=3.7 required=5.0
<P>Dear PayPal User,</P>
<P>Today we had some trouble with one of our computer systems. While
the trouble appears to be minor, we are not taking any chances. We decided to
take the troubled system offline and replace it with a new system. Unfortunately
this caused us to lose some member data. Please follow the link below and log
into your account to make sure your information is not affected. Account
balances have not been affected.</P>
<P>Because of the inconvenience this causes we are giving all users that
repair their missing data their next two incoming transfers for free! You will pay
no fees for your next two incoming transfers*. </P>
Thank you for using PayPal!</P>
<P><BR>* - If fees would normally apply, you will not pay anything
for the next two incoming transfers you receive. </P>
<P>PROTECT YOUR PASSWORD<BR>NEVER give your password to
anyone and ONLY log in at PayPal's website. If anyone asks for your
password, please follow the Security Tips instructions on the PayPal
I don’t know who has the power to do this, but p9.da.ru should be shut down ASAP.
In the meantime, I’m going to crank up the score for HTTP_USERNAME_USED in my SpamAssassin user_prefs file.
Someone at work today mentioned the problem of capturing “Tribal Knowledge” in an electronic format and making it easily accessible to new or remote employees.
When some new engineer joins Yahoo!, how are they supposed to know that they should build a website using Apache and PHP on FreeBSD? How do they know to use Nagios and not Big Brother for monitoring? MySQL and not Postgres? (Not that there is anything wrong with Postgres, but our Network Operations Center folks have familiarity with MySQL, so sticking to similar technology makes their lives easier which means you gets paged less frequently.)
We’ve got all of this information in our heads or maybe even in an email archive, but we need to distill it out and come up with a website that can capture it so other folks don’t waste time and energy research options that aren’t a good fit for our environment.
What’s the right software for this job? Some sort of Wiki system? A message boards package? Blogging software? Maybe just a bunch of .txt and .html documents checked into some well-known place in CVS?
I stumbled across How to Be a Programmer, a 40-page paper by Robert L. Read, a principal engineer at Hire.com.
It’s a relatively good paper so I’d recommend it to anyone who’s new to the field or is a college student considering a career in Software Engineering. The distinction between Computer Science and Software Engineering, while subtle, is an important one. This paper focuses more on the Software Engineering side of things, spending a good 50% of the time discussing interpersonal skills and how to be effective working with your team.
The paper does need some polishing, however. A simple grammar checker would catch a bunch of the mistakes that interrupt the flow.
This reminds me a little bit of a great lecture I heard by Leslie Pack Kaelbling back in 1996 about why she loves programming. Like Read, Kaelbling belives that debugging is the most important part of programming, but she spins it slightly differently.
In short, debugging is like detective work. You’ve got a problem that you need to solve, but it’s not obvious what the solution is. There are little hints here and there, and you begin to investigate each one. Each clue brings you closer and closer to the solution, but sometimes you realize that you just spent the last 6 hours going down a path that led nowhere, and you need to start over again. But at each moment, you always feel like you’re making forward progress.
As a consequence, debugging becomes an all-engrossing activity. It’s impossible to walk away from your desk when you’re just 5 minutes away from solving the mystery and fixing the bug! Of course, 20 minutes later, you still feel like you’ll get it nailed in another five.
Looks like the courts are finally realizing that copyright owners shouldn’t have control over everything. They cornerstone of today’s decision is that P2P netoworks, like VCRs, have substantial noninfringing uses.
A federal court denied a request to shut down Internet song-swapping services Grokster and Morpheus on Friday, handing a stunning setback to the record labels and movie studios that have sought to curb unauthorized downloading of their works. U.S. District Court Judge Stephen Wilson said the two services should not be shut down because they cannot control what is traded over their systems. Like a videocassette recorder, the software in question could be used for legitimate purposes as well as illicit ones, he said. “It is undisputed that there are substantial noninfringing uses for (the) Defendants’ software,” wrote Wilson, who serves in Los Angeles. [Yahoo! News: Court Rejects Suit Against Web Song-Swappers]
Take that, RIAA! Next, we’ll repeal the DMCA!
A couple of interesting talks in the technology/IP space are coming up:
April 30 Computer/Internet Roundtable: Breton Bocchieri on Qwest Communications International Inc. v. OneQwest.
May 7 Los Angeles ACM meeting: Ariel Rogson on “What Every Software Engineer Should Know About Patents”
With only 52 hours left in this year’s Passover holiday, I just got an email referencing Rabbi Golinkin’s teshuvah about Eating Kitniyot (Legumes) on Pesach.
It was written almost 15 years ago, yet people here in the Diaspora (outside of Israel) continue to discuss it year after year as if it’s breaking news.
Unfortunately for us, the teshuvah applies only to Jews living in Israel.
After two days of chag and a day of Shabbos, I’m back online again. That three day respite was great, even if it meant that I had 200 new messages in my Inbox.
We hosted a wonderful seder on the first night, enjoyed a relaxing first day of chag (and an impromptu lunch with a few friends), followed by a delicious (for the body and brain) second seder at Andrea and Aryeh’s that went until 2:30 in the morning. We slept in on Friday, had lunch with Rob & Lamelle, took a nap, and went to dinner at Cheryl’s house. Saturday felt like a normal Shabbos, except that Kiddush consisted of matzah and vegetables instead of the usual cookies, crackers and chummus.
It’s hard to believe, but Pesach is almost halfway over already!
On the morning of Erev Pesach, we burned all of the chametz that we discovered the night before.
On the day before Erev Pesach, we kashered the kitchen and searched the house for chametz. Hannah came over to help clean the kitchen and cover the countertops with contact paper:
Here we are “discovering” some challah and setting it aside for the next morning:
Ask Yahoo!, a daily column that features Q&A with Yahoo!’s expert team of Surfers, is now syndicating its content via RSS.
Here’s the link to the RSS file:
[Update: the XML now validates correctly.]