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back to article Blizzard of smut cuts off Council websites

If you’re seeking smut, you only need go as far at present as the leafy green home pages of West Wittering Parish Council. Or there's Worcestershire County Council’s Healthy Schools Forum which, in an area dedicated to "internet safety", advises visitors on where to find "sexy escorts", before inviting them into a chat room to …

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Stop

No-one in the IT department has noticed

Surely the boss has noticed the long hours the helpdesk are 'suddenly pulling' and the lack of paper tissues in the office!

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Gold badge
Happy

Sheltering behind a .gov.uk URL.

Exactly what makes this "safer"? Is it that the various bots 'n such that generate the link stats are less likely to write off results from such an address? Or is it just that the site's far more likely to adminstered by an incompetant, time-serving dweeb so the lavish plastering of hot pr0n links is less likely to be detected?

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Anonymous Coward

Should we be surprised?

So public bodies are operating forums yet don't know about spambots or moderation? Also they don't bother to regularly read their own forums?

Yes, that is about the level of skill I'd expect from them. So much for the lip-service of being "engaged with the customer."

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Happy

Virus and Porn Researcher

That sounds like 50% of my perfect job.

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So what's new

Last year I found the same had happened to an aviation-related online magazine. Possibly co-incidentally, this happened during a change of editor.

I e-mailed them about the problem, never got a response. After a month or so nothing had changed in the forum^W pron listing though new material had started to appear on the front page.

I scrapped my reference to them at that point, so now I neither know nor care what they've done about it.

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Alert

extreme images?

Does this mean that, under new laws governing extreme images, poor West Wittering council could be guilty of hosting, and therefore possessing, images too extreme for the sexual imagination of Jacqui Smith?

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Coat

This article...

...saved me hours of googling for prOn.

Yep, I'm going. It's the one with the right cuff rolled up.

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IT Angle

Why take the site down?

One of my sites got hacked a while ago. I just deleted the files that shouldn't have been there, replaced any others that had been updated at the same time and changed the password. It has been OK since then.

The problem with these organisations is that they're not exactly "with it" as regards the web but they think they ought to have a site and get someone else to 'do it'. After that box has been ticked they forget all about it.

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Anonymous Coward

Don't diss West Wittering

Best surf in the south. Not that that's saying much.

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Paris Hilton

LOL

A humorous way to highlight the idiocies of the dogma spilling out of Downing Street every five minutes, as well as the complete failure of those empowered to tell the rest of us how to behave, to police themselves. Gotta love 'teh interwebz', eh?

Paris - because she knows better than any, that nobody is perfect (not even her).

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RW
Paris Hilton

@ Paul

"the sexual imagination of Jacqui Smith"

"Repressions", "fears", "neurosis", or "complexes" would be a more suitable word.

Paris, because we don't have a Jacqui icon. Please may we have a Jacqui icon? Pretty please? Pretty please with cream and sugar on it?

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Thumb Up

Re: Don't diss West Wittering

"Best surf in the south."

In more ways than one now, it appears.

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@Paul

Please can I request that the terms 'sexual imagination' and 'Jacqui Smith' are never put into the same sentence again.

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Joke

Salford Speaks

She's hot..

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Joke

Re: Salford Speaks

Who Jacqui Smith? :-o

Rob

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Stop

Salford Bokes

She's not....

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mh.
Stop

Forum Spam

Probably about the only that stands out about this is that it has a gov.uk address. A lot of forum admin consists of chucking out spam registrations where the spammer wants to post links to sites full of fake drugs, counterfeit shoes and pr0n sites that are about as compelling as the Kays catalogue. Most of these registrations are automated using stuff like Xrumer or just doing a Google search for things like inurl:smf or inurl:phpbb. I've seen other forums where there are about 20 legit users and hundreds of spam ones. The only real way with to deal with it is manual account activation and checking if the emails or usernames haven't been used to spamvertise on other forums.

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Stop

not just link spam

Not sure if I've misunderstood, or if some of the commentors have.

"gain access to their server and set up a directory and chat forum that would be invisible to the public"

I read this to mean that there wasn't a public forum that got spammed. Server got compromised and a forum installed to be used as a link dump.

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Happy

Pictures; We require Pictures

No pictures....we just don't believe it.

At least give us the playmobil version.

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IT Angle

@not just link spam

"I read this to mean that there wasn't a public forum that got spammed. Server got compromised and a forum installed to be used as a link dump".

Absolutely. It is not clear what happened on some of the other sites. Worcestershire seem to run a bona fide forum which just got link spammed. However, West Wittering don't.

They were thinking of setting up a forum - possibly this will put them off. So in effect, the hack used an exploit to get on to their server and then either installed a forum of its own or activated something that was there but unused.

If you looked at the site structure (before they took it down) there was very clearly a spurious directory that got added some while after the main site was put up.

That is one of the reasons for looking at this more closely. Link spam? Not much of an issue. Spam sat on .gov.uk domains may be a bit more, since it implies a lack of moderation on some government sites.

But exploits that colonise your site from within are something that fewer people are aware of, and also denote an attack that is just that bit higher up the malware food chain. Of course, one solution is to do a regular check of your own site for "+porn"... which will work fine unless you site happens to be a porn site.

Then you might have problems.

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Tim

Gutted...

Sadly, I can report that the Norfolk County Council website returns nothing interesting for porn and merely a tiny bit of scat. What do we pay our council taxes for?

Tim#3

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Boffin

SOCP

Save Our Council Porn

Action group meets every Tuesday at Wittering Seniors Club - all welcome

Free tea.

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