New Followers and New Spam


Many new people have followed my blog lately. Some are legitimate but many others have unusual email addresses from outlook.com. I considered this to be a dangerous trend but I just couldn’t figure out how they could harm my blog just by following it.Bad Cat Chris on Laptop

I have had a couple of other WordPress blogs affected by malware and hackers more than once. Since I don’t blog much on those blogs I wasn’t paying attention until I noticed a string of tweets from me that I had nothing to do with. It took me awhile to figure out that I had connected WordPress to Twitter and someone else was posting on my blog.

Bad Cat Chris is my only current blog that is on wordpress.com and not self-hosted. Because of that, I worry a little less about hackers but last week I noticed a flood of spam that was a rare occurrence before.  I don’t know if these new outlook followers are responsible or if it is just a coincidence but am curious if others have noticed a similar pattern.

In other news, I posted a few weeks ago about two cats that needed homes. I am grateful to everyone that shared those posts on their blogs or social media. I don’t remember following up here about those cats and for that, I apologize.

The first was about an affectionate cat at Petsmart.

When my wife saw the video she decided she wanted her so we headed over to PetSmart on Saturday, two days after I shot the video, but the cat was gone along with the Siamese cat below her.

I then posted about a young Siamese cat named Dublin.

Siamese cat up for adoption

He was adopted by one of the vets at the clinic that took him in. She renamed him Oliver.

We are very happy both kitties found a home.

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33 thoughts on “New Followers and New Spam

  1. easyweimaraner

    that are super news about the two feline friends ;O) it seems the spammers have rush hour it is horrible what comes in this time…and I’m nearly sick of the warnings about cancelling my mail account… an not even clever arranged…not sure if yahoo has the permission to cancel gmail accounts I never owned…

    Reply
  2. cat9984

    I have been wondering about the .outlook followers as well. I don’t have Twitter and my WordPress account looks OK. Regardless, I would like to find out what is going on and stop it. I’m very glad to hear about the kittens

    Reply
      1. cat9984

        Not really. I usually get 1-2/day and have had 28 so far in May (including 2 from a blog I follow). There are certainly a lot of those outlook “people” though

        Reply
  3. foguth

    I’m thrilled that all those cats found forever homes, but am sorry to hear that you’ve had spammer issues. I’ve had a blog on WP for years and do check spam occasionally, but have never had my account compromised. That must have felt like a horrible violation. What sort of security do you have on this account? It’s been a while, but I believe that I set mine up so that I need to officially post everything and all new comments need to be vetted. I know this sounds paranoid, but identity theft is real and I’ve known far too many who’ve been affected by it.

    Reply
    1. Charles Huss Post author

      I do the same thing with comments new people. For this site I let WordPress.com handle security but the self-hosted sites now have a program called wordfence installed.

      Reply
  4. The Island Cats

    We’ve seen a number of people comment about these new subscribers from outlook.com. Not sure if it’s a problem or not…but worth keeping your eye on. We’re glad the two cats have found homes!

    Reply
  5. onespoiledcat

    YAY for the two cats who were at PetSmart but now have forever homes. We have an awful lot of outlook followers too and I have no idea how they found out about us but I am CURIOUS about it. Just not sure how to figure it out. I’d write to WordPress but I doubt I’d ever hear back. Far as I know there’s nothing illegitimate going on with our blog though so maybe it’s nothing to be overly concerned about.

    Pam

    Reply
  6. databbiesotrouttowne

    knock wood; there’s been nothing unusual over at blogger lately; it seems to go in spurts and the spammers hit numerous blogs with a multitude of crap in a given week. blogger is pretty good at closing them down once reported; usually within a couple of days. perhaps wordpress has a “help” menu that shows where spam can be reported ??

    Reply
  7. caren gittleman

    I try to unsubscribe people with unusual email addresses ….sometimes I forget to do it but when I see it and have time I always unsubscribe them. Better safe than sorry. Dakota’s blog is a self-hosted wordpress blog and he gets quite a bit of spam ……..Cody’s is a blogger blog and used to get an obscene amount which has slowed down quite a bit. Soooo happy those kitties found good homes!

    Reply
  8. Summer

    I’m glad both kitties found homes! My blog has such a strong anti-spam plugin that sometimes my regular readers wind up in the spam folder. I hate when that happens, but it’s better than the alternative.

    Reply
  9. Catwoods

    Around last Friday I had about 20 comments in the spamcatcher. They each had a different name and address but were IMO clearly from the same source. They were all answers to comments already present, and all said “What?” I don’t know what these spammers intend to accomplish, they should know they won’t be published; it’s just harassment, I suppose.

    Reply
    1. Charles Huss Post author

      That’s weird. My spammers attached links which I did not follow. I don’t know why they bother either. I don’t know who would let these kind of comments post on their page.

      Reply
  10. The Swiss Cats

    Yay for the adoptions ! We have a good anti-spam, but we’re always amazed on how many spams we get. Purrs

    Reply
  11. Dennis

    I noticed the same. I get spammed with new followers as well.

    “I just couldn’t figure out how they could harm my blog just by following it.”

    Me neither. I’m into search engine optimization, marketing and what not. And even then I can’t feature out what the deal is with those spam email addresses following my site. The only thing I could think of is that these are set up bots, trying to aggregate our posts, to either re-publish them or to auto-translate them into different languages. But if that is the case, I still wouldn’t be worried because Google hates excessive use of duplicated (or stolen) content. If that is the case, these sites probably won’t even rank in Google. So, don’t worry.

    About comment spam, Akismet works well, but since some spam will always come through, I have my blog set to manual approval of comments. That means I do also need to approve comments of people I do trust, but on the other hand real spam won’t have a chance… it’s just a tiny bit of extra works, but warrants that zero spam will come through.

    Reply
      1. Dennis

        I am a bit more hardline with comments. I do trust people like you, and other regulars. But the main issue is that I overall got thousands comments of other strangers with the years, and by opening comments to those that already commented, it’s much less secure. I just want that there is a zero chance for spam. If I could individually allow some people to get auto-approved, I would allow people like you and a few others from WordPress that I do already trust very well. But as far as I know, we don’t have this feature.

        Reply
    1. Charles Huss Post author

      Thanks. We were a little disappointed we missed our chance to adopt the female but we were glad she found a home. Plus, we have too many cats already. Our neighborhood has a two pet limit.

      Reply
  12. meowmeowmans

    That’s so awesome about those two finding their forever homes! 🙂

    Sorry to hear about the preponderance of spam. No fun.

    Reply

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