To all the bloggers out there, beware!
There are a lot of referer spammers posting sites that as soon as you load the page, it tries to load a file named '33.wmf'. I strongly suspect this is a WMF exploit file designed to take over your computer! Beware!
I've written several blogs in the past discussing organic food and why I think it's better than conventional food. Up until now, it's just been me, some anonymous Joe Blow on the Internet spouting off with his opinions on this subject. Now a very reputable magazine has chimed in with its opinion and they agree with me! In the February 2006 issue of Consumer Reports (page 12) is an article discussing the benefits of organic food. If you don't believe me, believe this reputable source. For those of you out there who don't subscribe to this magazine, like I do, I thought I'd summarize the article for your benefit.
Buy these items organic as often as possible
What: Apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, imported grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, red raspberries, spinach and strawberries.
Why: USDA lab testing shows that even after washing some fruits and vegetables consistently carry much higher levels of pesticide residue than others. Among fruits, nectarines had the highest percentage testing positive for pesticide residue. Peaches and red raspberries had the most pesticides on a single sample. Amoung vegetables, celery and spinach most often carried pesticides, with spinach having the highest number on a single sample. For more info go to FoodNews.
What: Meat, poultry, eggs and dairy
Why: You greatly reduce the risk of exposure to the agent believed to cause mad cow disease and other toxins by eating organic meat, as opposed to conventional meat. You also avoid the daily supplemental hormones and antibiotics, which have been linked to increased antibacterial resistence in humans.
What: Baby food
Why: Children's bodies are especially vulnerable to toxins and they may be at risk of higher exposure. Due to the fact that baby food is often made up of condensed fruits or vegetables, they can take in larger doses of toxins.
Buy these items organic if price is no object
What: Asparagus, avocados, bananas, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet corn, kiwi, mangos, onions, papaya, pineapples, and sweet peas.
Why: These vegetables rarely show evidence of multiple pesticide residues.
What: Breads, oils, potato chips, pasta, cereals, and other packaged foods, such as canned or dried fruit and vegetables.
Why: These are processed products, that while they may have less toxins, are lower in nutrients due to their processed nature. (The more processed it is, the less nutrients it has.) Rule of thumb: Buy it, and cook it in its natural state!
Don't bother buying these items organic
Why: There are no government standards for what is considered 'organic' seafood. This means that companies are free to call their seafood organic, even if it's not.
Why: Most cosmetics don't contain much organic material. Also, government regulations seem pretty lax in what they allow as 'organic' in cosmetics. Cosmetics manufaturers also routinely use synthetic ingredients, even in their 'organic' products.
Chemical Health Risks of Conventionally Produced Foods
Pesticides: In 1996 a law was passed requiring pesticides to meet safety standards for children, whose developing bodies are especially vulnerable to damage from toxins. This law causes more and more pesticides to be banned each year, but consumers can still easly consume small amounts of more than 30 pesticides daily when eating a healthful variety of foods. Evidence also shows that pesticides can be passed in a woman's bloodstream to a fetus in the womb. Studies have shown that eating an organic diet for as little as 5 days, can reduce signs of pesticides in your body to undetectable levels. There is also evidence that "exposure of the fetus to organophosphorus pesticides produces babies with small head circumference, which is a risk factor for reduced intelligence and behavioral disturbances".
Hormones: Studies suggest that synthetic growth hormones are carcinogenic. These hormones have also been linked to the precocious onset of puberty in girls. These hormones are banned, by law, in all poultry, but not in other types of beef.
Antibiotics: Leads to increased antibiotic resistence in humans. This means that when antibiotics are used to fight a normal infection in humans, they will be less effective. This can cause the antibiotics to not work in fighting the infection/disease.
Ok, my continuing adventures with the referer spam has lead to an interesting discovery - I think criminals are now using referer spam to spread viruses. I think they are doing this in order to 'own' more computers for their botnets.
Today, I was browsing through the latest referer spam links on my blog. My blog no longer displays referer links on the site. (Thank you b2evolution!) This has slowed down the flow of referer spam a lot, but I do still get occaisional spams. Whenever I get one of these spams, if I'm not sure what it is, I go to the site. I got a few of these referer spam links today that I wasn't sure were referer spam, so I visited the site. As soon as I loaded the page, I got a box from Firefox asking for permission to download a WMF (Windows MetaFile). This is a very unusual thing to see on a web site. 99.9% of all images on web sites are either GIF or JPG format files. A WMF is a Windows-only image format. It is also the source of a recent exploit on Windows. This exploit can be used to secretly run programs on the person's machine without the person knowing it. This means that if someone were to load this WMF, it would install a program that would allow the criminal to secretly take control of your computer. You would NEVER even know that this is happening! If this exploit works, you've just 'donated' your computer and your Internet connection to this criminals own uses. He can basically use your computer to do anything he wants - send emails, perform DDOS on other sites. Anything. It's a scary thought.
Fortunately, Firefox does not display these images by default and I did not fall victim to this. I also have my computer properly patched to prevent this exploit. I am sure that there are millions of computers out there that have not been patched to fix this exploit, however. this means that there are millions of pontential 'free' computers for all these criminals to exploit. The sites that were hosting this WMF were clearly not legitimate sites. They all contained a seemingly random collection of words (no doubt in an attempt to attract higher placement on search engines). The domain names were also named to attract teens. The names had names very similar to MySpace.com (a very popular site with teens). These names could easily be confused for the real MySpace.com site causing the unsuspecting teen to fall victim to this exploit and add his computer to the criminal's botnet. This is downright scary.Am I positive that this was an intentional attempt to spread this WMF exploit? No. However, based on the evidence, I don't see what else it could be.
I own a lot of domains. At last count, 28 of them. Amoung them are pretty much all of the 'ekle.*' domains. The only one I haven't been able to get is 'ekle.com'. That one is owned by a domain broker who wants way too much money for an unimportant little domain name like this. Apparently four letter domains are considered valuable, because they are so few letters. I fail to see how 'ekle' is of much value to anyone who's last name isn't Ekle... I now have all these ekle.* domains pointing here to my blog. They are:ekle.biz
On the recommendation of my friend Dave, I decided to give Yahoo Music Unlimited a try. Today I signed up for a year. I've been listening for a while now, and all I have to say is WOW! Apple, copy this right now! Yahoo definately has something good here. It's an intoxicating feeling to be able to listen to any song you want to. I've been wandering all over the place listening to stuff today. I can definately see how being able to listen to entire songs online would drive you to actually buy the song. A few suggestions though:
- Make an OS X version of Yahoo Music Engine right now! I wanna listen to this stuff on my Mac!
- Offer the ability to do a one-click buy of a discounted copy of a printed album on CD. I don't mean a low quality, DRM-encumbered digital download, I mean a full blown, standard music CD. If I'm gonna buy the album, I want the full quality album with liner notes and no damn DRM.
Wow, I've never banned an entire country from my site before!
I just modified my site to ban the entire country of Russia. Why? Because this seems to be the source of most of the referer spam I'm getting. It's unfortunate that I need to resort to this large of a ban, but I must keep the spam under control.