Bruce Schneier on scams

Bruce Schneier is a widely recognized expert on security, with a specific emphasis on computer security. He wrote an essay on scams a bit over a decade ago. While things have changed a lot since then, it is still an interesting read from the perspective of the scammer attacking the human behind the keyboard with ideas, rather than trying to write a virus to infect the computer.

https://www.schneier.com/essay-035.html

A much more recent (June 2012) blog posting from Mr. Schneier describes why some scams seem so far fetched. In a nutshell, it seems to be an attempt to select only the most susceptible victims. Think what you like, but all of us go through difficult times. When our emotions are torn and we wake up in the morning already weary from the battle, it can be much more challenging to pick out a scam.

https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2012/06/far-fetched_sca.html

Mr. Schneier has written extensively about scams, and security trade offs. You can read more of his commentary on scams here:

https://www.schneier.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-search.cgi?tag=scams

Events Updated

Two new features have been made available on the PW Event pages today.

The first is an increase in the size of the image when the Event is viewed. The other is the ability to change the image after the Event is created.

Both features will be available for new Events starting today.

Thanks!
Chris

Nightly maintenances completed

Back in mid-Decemeber I mentioned that I was doing some cleanup work on the databases that power the classifieds. I tried to make sure it was completed before 4am, but in some cases people were occasionally seeing odd things as late as 6 or 7am.

Mostly this involved ads that were “deleted” early in the morning, but didn’t actually disappear until an hour or two later, or ads that were posted that were sometimes there, sometimes not for an hour or two before all the databases “saw” the ad, and it became stable.

I completed this stage of the cleanup earlier this week. I’ve still got some work to do, but now I can do one machine at a time, and I’ll remove it from service so no one sees those oddities.

Thank you for your patience, and thanks for using PennsWoods.Net!

Chris

Happy New Year

Many thanks to those who’ve written wishing me a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I hope that 2013 has treated you well, and that 2014 will bring good things.

Please remember, if you are drinking, don’t drive.

Have a Happy New Year!

Deleted Ads

In May 2012 I listed reasons why ads were being removed. I thought it might be interesting to some to provide a similar snapshot of the last 15 days.

Ads deleted by the owner. => 5307
Ads the expired naturally. => 735
Ads deleted for being in the wrong category, or for some other guideline violation. => 645
Ads removed because it was a scam. => 35
Ads that I removed. => 2

Chris

Nightly Maintenances

Just a reminder to everyone… I am doing database maintenance most nights between approximately 2am and 4am. Lately it has been running me until close to 5, and at least one night a little after 6am. If you are using the classifieds during this time, you will likely find that there are slow downs, a lot of pauses, and quite likely pages that return an error of some sort.

I apologize for the inconvenience for those who are accustomed to using the site during this time frame. I can’t get around doing this, and unfortunately it is likely to continue through the end of 2013.

I will do my best to limit the intrusion to no later than 4:30am, even if I need to drag it on into next year.

Thanks!
Chris

Cleaning up Thursday / Friday Mess

Looks like the login problems really started happening Thursday evening, but I wasn’t connecting the dots until Friday morning. Looks like we are all clear now.

One problem that lingered until this morning was new accounts and password changes were not being properly processed. I was able to rectify that by around 10am this morning.

Thanks!
Chris

Website Issues

Last evening the authentication server, the machine that knows if you are logged in or not, became disabled. I have it running on new hardware now, and it should be in better shape now.

However while it was misbehaving, it was not possible to log into PW Classifieds, or into www.pennswoods.net. If you went to email.pennswoods.net directly, you were able to access your email.

As a separate issue, I am also doing database maintenance most nights between approximately 2am and 4am. If you are using the classifieds during this time, you will likely find that there are slow downs, a lot of pauses, and quite likely pages that return an error of some sort.

I apologize for the inconvenience for those who are accustomed to using the site during this time frame. I can’t get around doing this, and unfortunately it is likely to continue through the end of 2013.

Thanks,
Chris

More Scam by Text

This evening I’ve gotten three messages asking me about text messages that were sent. Supposedly they were sent by me claiming that there was a report that their ad was a scam. There is a link to log in and verify that the ad is not a scam.

The text message is a scam! I do not currently use text messages within the PW Classifieds. I don’t send out warnings about reported ads.

I can only assume that if you’ve tried to log in to the link provided, you’re username and password are compromised, and some foreign crook will be using your account to place scam ads.

If you’ve had this happen to you, and you tried to log in to the link provided, please change your password. The option to do so is in the FAQ, question #3.

Thanks for being on guard, and a special thanks to those who sent me word that they received these text messages!