Russian Trolls Under Every Bridge

One thing I’ve noticed recently, in sifting through the spam comments on my blog, is how many come from Russians now. And on one post, in particular.

See, I stopped looking at the spam comments after a while. This kind of went along with my overall dip in blogging that I mentioned yesterday. The comments seemed to be always and endlessly spam, and never any legit ones. Always jam yesterday and none today. The White Queen haunts me.

Of course, some of this came as a natural consequence of me not blogging comment-worthy stuff. But then I did say something interesting, and my friend, the lovely Grace Draven, mentioned to me on Facebook that she commented at length–but I didn’t see it. It was in my spam folder, because apparently Grace is actually a troll selling off-brand cross-trainers and possibly nudie webcam dancing. I was able to rescue her comment, and set about housecleaning that bursting folder. 

I’ve been trying to keep up with it better – with the help of wonderful assistant, Carien – and I’ve noticed something very interesting. Most all of the spam comments are on one old post from 2014, called “Taking Guns to the Mall.”  (Note: I’ve since changed the title, in an effort to stop the spam bots.) And the comments come from people with Russian names and often with Cyrillic characters in them. They’re the usual balderdash of jigsaw puzzled paragraphs of technical information with links, both commercial and likely nefarious. What happens here is that bots are crawling the internet looking for search terms and submitting these “comments” to the posts. 

Interesting search terms, huh?

It’s fascinating to me to have my own small intersection with a worldwide plague, one that very likely contaminated the 2016 election. Evidence cited in that article indicates that Russia-backed posts reached as many as 126 million Americans on [Facebook] during and after the 2016 presidential election.  

If you haven’t seen it, this video of Senator Franken grilling the Facebook lawyer is full of awesome. 

At any rate, I considered deleting that post, or changing the title to something less likely to tempt the trolls out from under their bridges. For now I’ve tried turning off comments to the post. It will be interesting to see how that works.

Meanwhile, that’s still one of my favorite photos of David, dressed as a pirate in the big hat. Sail on, me hearties. 

For Your Immediate Attention

The moon put on another gorgeous show this morning, so you get full moon pic, redux.

Before I had my website redone, I posted my blog on Blogger. Funny how I phrased that, like my blog is this abstract concept that floats in space until I find a place to park it. At any rate, this website uses WordPress. Apparently with WordPress comes huge amounts of spam commenting. Now my website designer uses Akismet to block the bad comments, but they all go to this spam folder.

I can’t help looking.

See what they do is say flattering things about you and your blog, then slip in a link to another site. Or blatantly pimp some device. Zune is big for this. No, I have no idea why. Most are in the slightly distorted English featured in Nigerian bank emails. This seems to be its own language now, which I propose we call Spamglish.

So, some just seem to be admiring comments, relying upon the user link for clickage:

Recently, I didnt give so much thought to writing comments on blog entries and have left comments even less. Checking out your insightful page, will probably encourage me to do so more regularly.

Your place is valueble for me. Thanks!…

Some act like they’re giving substantive feedback, which is never related to the topic:

A powerful share, I simply given this onto a colleague who was doing slightly analysis on this. And he the truth is purchased me breakfast as a result of I discovered it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the deal with! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to debate this, I really feel strongly about it and love reading extra on this topic. If potential, as you develop into expertise, would you thoughts updating your blog with more particulars? It is extremely helpful for me. Big thumb up for this blog submit!

I was reading something else about this on another blog. Interesting. Your linear perspective on it is diametrically contradicted to what I read to begin with. I am still pondering over the various points of view, but Im tipped to a great extent toward yours. And irrespective, thats what is so super about contemporary democracy and the marketplace of thoughts online.

My spouse and i felt very ecstatic that Chris managed to finish up his investigations via the ideas he received from your very own web pages. It is now and again perplexing to just find yourself giving away ideas that some other people could have been selling. And we also see we have the website owner to thank for this. The explanations you have made, the easy web site menu, the friendships you help foster – it’s many sensational, and it’s really helping our son and the family feel that that issue is amusing, and that’s wonderfully serious. Thank you for everything!

Others just blatantly pimp something:

How to get a six pack fastWill show you how to get a sixpack fast

Or are weirdly random, probably cribbed from posts they actually pertained to:

Sooo cute I cant believe those are made of eggs. Thanks for sharing the info. Ill also make stuff like those.

Ralph, Im wanting into your concern. I know whats causing it, its only a make a difference of finding a viable solution.

Those  are easy. It’s the ones that I *want* to believe, that fluff my vanity, that are the hardest to delete:

This is very interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I have joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your magnificent post. Also, I have shared your website in my social networks!

Hey, it could be true, right?

This one is the one that I’ve hesitated over. I’ve kept it in the spam filter for several days now. It’s not in Spamglish, but it does share some features in common with these others. And Akismet did call it spam. I even looked at the link and it looks like vacation photos. But I’m wary that it’s a trap.

I don’t normally comment on blogs.. But nice post! I just bookmarked your site

All of these, by the way, were in the filter this morning (except the last one). That means 13 came in over night.

At least they’re entertaining to read!

Here Fishy

Weekends are for spammers, have you noticed? Especially three-day weekends. I received easily three times as many spam messages overnight on Friday night and Sunday night as I normally do.

I’m picturing these people, coming home from their jobs and hunkering down over the computer. A dark room lit by only a single desk lamp. Or possibly only the blue glow of the computer screen. On and on they send, lining up appeals for financial exchanges, offers of penis-enhancement products and enticing work-at-home opportunities — presumably like the one they have. Apparently many of them go out on Saturday night, instead of working.

Or is this related to prison schedules? More computer time allowed, an extra perk for the weekend. Maybe all the spam (spams?) arrive overnight because of all the Africans, Europeans and Asians working while I’m sleeping to advise me of their gold mines, my lost inheritance, my lottery win.

I wonder if they communicate with one another, a community of spammers. I’ll notice that one will come up with something new that manages to snag my attention. What? A photo of me doing something stupid? Not that this is beyond the realm of possibility, but… and as the thought completes, I realize the scam and delete. Then for weeks afterwards I’m deluged with stupid photo subject lines, many that gradually evolve to add new elements. But it’s too late, I recognize the breed now, no matter how it’s redecorated. Perhaps they spam one another. There’s my late-night spammer, home from his job. He sees the email. A photo of him doing something stupid? He clicks. Oh! he grunts. So clever. I should do this, too.

Or maybe it’s just a pull-down list from Spammer Central: select from package delivery, dear friend, private and confidential. All pre-formatted, just add random email addresses.

No matter: it’s still the guy on the corner with the raincoat full of watches. The flapping flyer on the telephone pole urging you to work from home sealing envelopes. The eternal hope that, no matter how familiar and tattered the bait, some fish may bite.