Monday, May 24, 2010

Bitten By an Internet Spider

Last week many of our members received SMS notification of a Find-a-Builder enquiry which rather than the business lead they anticipated or perhaps hoped for, the generated e-mail contained unfathomable gibberish.

We were victims of a spam attack, allow me to explain……

There are web based programmes designed with malicious intent to screen the internet looking for the likes of on-line enquiry forms. They deliberately populate fields with gobbledygook and send them off, such programmes are commonly referred to as internet spiders.

Several precautions can be taken to prevent this; a common one is when you are asked to key in a sequence of letters or numbers that in most cases, are skewed to the point that they are difficult to read. Upon entering them correctly, your mail then goes off ensuring that the source of the entry is indeed human.

We initially took the decision not to implement this system in order to keep the enquiry process as user friendly as possible. We were however under no illusion that the time would come when we would have to consider some form of protection against it.

What we have come up with is a reasonable compromise; although it is an extra step in the process, it is quick and painless. Those completing enquiry forms will now have to enter the answer to a simple sum; this should keep those pesky spiders at bay.

Ernest Roper


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