Domains hijacked by fake brand spammers

Spammer who set up fake websites offering brand name products to sell counterfeit merchandise or to steal credit card details of would-be buyers often hack third party websites to host ads and shopping websites on them.

On top of that we’ve also come across many cases of them taking over control of existing domains, whose names then don’t make any mention of the brands being offered.

For example the domain “”, which currently hosts a site selling Nike shoes, has been around since 2004 and apparently was previously owned by a telecommunications company in Nigeria. Looking up its current ownership using WHOIS, it still has a 2004 creation date but appears to be owned by someone in China:

Registry Domain ID: 119763324_DOMAIN_NET-VRSN
Registrar WHOIS Server:
Registrar URL:
Update Date: 2014-06-22T11:19:59Z
Creation Date: 2004-05-11T08:50:26Z
Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2015-05-11T08:50:26Z
Registrar:, LLC
Registrar IANA ID: 146
Registrar Abuse Contact Email:
Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +1.480-624-2505
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited
Domain Status: clientUpdateProhibited
Domain Status: clientRenewProhibited
Domain Status: clientDeleteProhibited
Registry Registrant ID:
Registrant Name: gina zipperian
Registrant Organization:
Registrant Street: pu tian
Registrant Street: fu jian
Registrant City: fujian
Registrant State/Province: jiao wei
Registrant Postal Code: 351253
Registrant Country: China
Registrant Phone: +86.15860339007
Registrant Phone Ext:
Registrant Fax:
Registrant Fax Ext:
Registrant Email:
Registry Admin ID:
Admin Name: gina zipperian
Admin Organization:
Admin Street: pu tian
Admin Street: fu jian
Admin City: fujian
Admin State/Province: jiao wei
Admin Postal Code: 351253
Admin Country: China
Admin Phone: +86.15860339007
Admin Phone Ext:
Admin Fax:
Admin Fax Ext:
Admin Email:
Registry Tech ID:
Tech Name: gina zipperian
Tech Organization:
Tech Street: pu tian
Tech Street: fu jian
Tech City: fujian
Tech State/Province: jiao wei
Tech Postal Code: 351253
Tech Country: China
Tech Phone: +86.15860339007
Tech Phone Ext:
Tech Fax:
Tech Fax Ext:
Tech Email:
DNSSEC: unsigned
URL of the ICANN WHOIS Data Problem Reporting System:[/CODE]

We suspect that that phishing and malware were used to enable a domain transfer away from the legitimate owners to the scammers. Having to reinstall your PC to get rid of a malware infestation is one thing. Losing an established domain that you spent years promoting on the web is another.

Protecting yourself from phishing and malware is more important than ever.

OTC:TLPY – Pump and Dump Spam

Beware of any stock that’s advertised via spam!

Here is an example of spam flogging the latest stock to avoid:

Hi Kids,

Ok.. the wait is over TLPY is here!


I will be sending you the TLPY video over the weekend. Along with my usual report. I just wanted to give this to you super quick before the MASSES get it on Monday!

All the best in the markets and stay tuned Sunday at 7PM EST for my TLPY video and report!

I believe TLPY is going to be EPIC! BUY TLPY TODAY!

Happy Trading,

The only person making money in spammed stocks are the ones sending the spam or paying the spammer, who will manage to offload overpriced illiquid stocks onto unsuspecting buyers who fall for the scam.

“Free Audio Editor 2014” adware spam

Every now and then I check comments stuck in the spam filter of my blog. Mostly I find spam postings advertising fake brand merchandise, with the odd bit of SEO spam thrown in. Today I found a link to a site selling a product called “Free Audio Editor 2014” (free-audio-editor dot com), which as it turns out is also available at Why would a free product be advertised via blog spams, I wondered. What would they gain?

So I downloaded a copy and uploaded it to for checking for malware. As it turns out 11 out of 57 products that analysed it didn’t like it:

AVware InstallCore (fs) 20150307
Avira Adware/InstallCore.A.367 20150307
Baidu-International Adware.Win32.InstallCore.XA 20150306
Comodo Application.Win32.InstallCore.AEK 20150306
DrWeb Trojan.InstallCore.151 20150306
ESET-NOD32 a variant of Win32/InstallCore.XA potentially unwanted 20150307
K7AntiVirus Unwanted-Program ( 004a9d5f1 ) 20150306
K7GW Unwanted-Program ( 004a9d5f1 ) 20150306
Norman InstallCore.CERT 20150306
VBA32 Malware-Cryptor.InstallCore.gen 20150306
VIPRE InstallCore (fs) 20150307

The results suggest that this product may be adware.

I would never install software on my PC that was advertised via spam. If you’re looking for a free audio file editor, I recommend Audacity (, which is open source and works great.

A Ride With A View

Woody Allen once remarked that showing up is 80 percent of life. One of my passions is taking pictures while out on bicycle rides and from my experiences there, I can’t help but agree with him: If you want nice pictures, you got to show up where and when you take them. Over the years I have returned with some great shots that I could share with friends and people on the WWW, but owning a decent camera and knowing how to compose a shot are useless unless you put yourself in a position where great shots can actually happen.

Specifically that means:

  • being in the right place at the right time,
  • bringing your camera and
  • actually taking a picture of something.

That may sound trivial, but many cyclists I know either limit where and when they take pictures, don’t carry a camera or pass too many nice views without bothering to stop for a picture.

A bicycle is almost the ideal means of getting around to take pictures. It combines the wide reach of motor vehicles with the close-up view of pedestrians. On a bike you can easily cover 100-200 km in a day, much more than on foot, but still at a pace where you can see things in detail. Once you see something interesting it’s very easy to stop (or turn back a bit if you’ve passed it already), unlike in a car.

So my first advice is to go out and explore. Roam around and seek out new places. I particularly like mountains because of how far you can see from high up, or from how far away you can see them, as well as the coast line.

It’s not just about where but also when: Some of the best shots presented themselves in the early morning or at sunset, where the light is warm and soft. Get up early and don’t be afraid to return after dark. My bike has a powerful dynamo hub-powered headlight and I often complete rides several hours after sunset.

Nothing brings out colours more than bright sunlight. Don’t miss clear, sunny days if you want to capture views of autumn leaves, flowers or distant mountains.

Don’t be put off by a chance of rain. While overcast skies may dull colours, sunlight breaking through clouds or evening light after rain can be wonderfully atmospheric.

I always carry two cameras on my rides, sometimes three. I also carry charged spare batteries. Most cyclists these days probably carry a camera-equipped mobile phone, but I only use mine for immediate sharing on a ride (e.g. in WhatsApp) or as a backup. If I shoot the same image with both the phone and the camera I will rarely make any use of the shots taken on the phone, besides sending some to friends before I return.

My main camera is a Canon S100 (and before that an S95) which is compact enough to fit into a jersey pocket. I normally keep it in my handle bar bag, within easy reach when I stop. Recently I have also been travelling with a DSLR (Nikon D3300) that I carry in my Ortlieb seat post bag. Both the Canon and Nikon provide much superior image quality compared to my Samsung phone.

Last but not least, you need to take the time to stop. This is one reason why I enjoy riding either by myself or with other slow-ish cyclists. If in doubt, stop for a shot. And if it’s worth taking a shot, try a couple of slightly different ones and later pick the one you like best. It’s a simple matter of what your priorities are. To me enjoying views is more important than maintaining some average speed or Strava ranking or whatever. If I go for as much as 100 km without taking a picture, something must have badly gone wrong 😉

Here are some of my favourites from the last three years.