Friday, October 17, 2008

Be careful even when moderating comments on your blog

Bloggers who allow comments (most do) should not only turn on comment moderation but should also probably be careful about embedded links in comments that are offered. In a few occasions, links that appear to be legitimate may actually link to hostile sites offering harmful downloads, fake anti-virus software, pornography, or content that is patently illegal to even possess.

There are two ways this happens. If you run your cursor over the link, you may see a different URL appear. That is one warning sign. In many cases the blogger will reject the comment and mark it as spam, if the publishing service or ISP offers spam reporting. One precautionary technique, available with some blog publishing services, is to require the comment-offered to sign on with a captcha, to avoid automatically generated comments.

But sometimes even the actual URL looks legitimate. Yesterday, on one blog on another domain ( I got a comment (which of course I rejected in monitoring) that gave the URL of what appeared to be a legitimate networking profile on It appeared to come from the Muscogee County School District (in Georgia). I checked the link (of the specific profile) as I was moderating, and saw it was an “adult” site. McCafee Site Advisor remained gray for this link, but was green for the site as a whole. I suspect there are trademark law issues here, which I will take up soon on my trademark law blog.

This "school district" reference with adult content apparently also occurs at (blogs) and at (boards), both references marked green by McCafee site advisor on searches.

The computer showed 100% CPU use, although that might have happened before, when I was in Microsoft Word. (Once in a while, Word seems to stall, and so does Firefox; I’m not sure why.) I restarted the machine and the CPU problem went away. I ran fill virus scan and it found no problems.

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