Native Plants, Habitat Restoration, and Other Science Snippets from Athens, Georgia

Sunday: 13 April 2008

Phishing for Clubtails  -  @ 07:58:21
Two unrelated things today:

On Thursday I presented three mystery dragonflies and had a lot of great help in identifying them. That yielded me a male and female baskettail, Epithecus spp., and the first photo on that entry was of a Clubtail (Gomphidae) freshly emerged and not yet fully fleshed out. Still, the promise of abdominal rings on that one seems to suggest it's different from any of the ones I've seen below.

Clubtails are apparently abundant here - looking back through the blog I see that's actually the third species I've observed. The first was Apr 9 2007 an unknown gomphid noted so by Bev. The second clubtail, Jul 15 2007, was Progomphus obscurus, Common Sanddragon.

And here's the fourth. I've looked through Bugguide's Gomphidae page, and haven't yet found anything that doesn't have the busy striping about the thorax, nor the interrupted rectangular markings on the abdomen. Ashy Clubtail comes the closest, but that's not quite right either.

UPDATE: Bev suggested that this is a Stream Cruiser, Didymops transversa. After looking at this photo, as well as her own (of a cruiser eating a cousin), it's hard to argue against that. But stop changing the rules!! ; - )  I mistakenly identified a Gomphid as an Aeschnid the other day, and now it's the same mistake applied in reverse (almost - as a Belted Skimmer, this is a Macromiid). Look at that clubtail! Look at those eyes! It's still a new species to me, though.

I actually saw this one on Thursday Apr 10, but had just idly snapped the shots of a very briefly resting insect and didn't expect much. Turned out ok:

A couple of other nice pages on dragonflies that include a lot of clubtails is Tom Murray's New England Clubtails page and Dorothy Pugh's dragonfly page.

Here's the second thing for today, an update on the phishing site designations still accorded to us by Google (first thumbnail) and McAfee (second thumbnail).

The first screenshot shows that Google promises us as being clean, if you click on the green checkmark, but still has not lifted the redirect to the warning page if you actually click on the Niches link. McAfee's Site Advisor still warns you without qualification, if you have McAfee security software. So to add to the confusion it's also a right hand left hand thing. There's some level of communication going on between Yahoo!, Google, McAfee, RSA, and who knows what else, but not, apparently, enough to resolve improperly designated issues like this.

Of course the warnings themselves are inaccurate. The blog's pages themselves were never compromised. The "RSA FraudAction Command Center" detected a large number of phishing *emails* being sent from, a result of an upload of phishing software by someone at America Online on Mar 19 (has this really been going on for almost a month??). In their zealotry, RSA ignored explanatory email from us, and undertook without further consideration to notify software security and search engine companies, who then took the draconian steps, again without consideration and in a matter of hours. If you go to their website you'll be impressed with the incredible amount of work they do in shutting down nastywebsites. If you look a little closer you'll notice that they say nothing about the false positives, and of course no one knows anything about the false negatives. Given that the vast majority of phishing victims are guilty of nothing more than naivety, I'd guess RSA, and probably Google, Yahoo!, McAfee, and others, make a *lot* of mistakes.

Glenn did, with great difficulty, find a site re-evaluation request page for McAfee, and actually received some email back upon applying, but we'll have to see how that goes. It seems that they'll blacklist you instantly, but it apparently may take up to four weeks for them to get around to clearing you completely. I guess undoing you isn't nearly as much fun as doing you.

From Tips, Tricks, Tools, and Techniques, a list of folks who have had similar problems, primarily associated with using WordPress (TTT&T actually has a number of good posts on avoiding hacking):

Flagged by Google, references
Banned by Google
Wordpress exploitation
More Google blocking nightmares

Other references:

Official Google Webmaster Control Blog, kindly supplied by Gin through email. On the other hand *their* first advice: "The first step in any case should be to contact your hosting provider, if you have one. Often times they can handle most of the technical heavy lifting for you." HA! Let's not go down *that* path. ; - ) 

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