When Spammers Attack

Dan Gillmor has uncovered the latest threat to bloggers, coordinated attacks against us using our own blacklisting tools.

It appears that the comment spammers may be polluting new postings with legitimate domains — including this one — in order to cause trouble for people who are running programs to cut down on comment spam.

In this case, they put weblog.siliconvalley.com and mercurynews.com URLs into spams containing their porn and casino links (or whatever it was the anti-spam program had already flagged), and the comment blacklist software picked our URLs up and offered to ban them. We missed this, and the result was that I couldn’t post comments here briefly, and some of my old comments got erased in the meantime.

Pretty damn sinister if you ask me. I have no doubt that as the problem spreads and more and more people are affected we’ll see a shift to registration required comment systems which do more to allow the author control over posters before they have the chance to spam.