Namesco and the strange case of the missing FTP

I used to have a broadband connection with Namesco but their amazing (lack of) customer service put an end to that. They managed to break it twice within six months. The nice man on the telephone assured me that they would “As a goodwill gesture…” not charge me for correcting their cock ups. I hung up.

This site is hosted by them. I have just renewed, after seriously contemplating moving it elsewhere, the hosting package. Yesterday things stopped working. There was no warning. There was no notification of what was going on. Having been a customer for some time I have become use to their somewhat cavalier attitude to customer service. So I rummaged around on their website and found this…

14 Jan 09

13:54:22

FTP Password updates

As one of the UK’s leading web services providers, we pride ourselves on offering the highest levels of security and protection.

As you may be aware, the number of attempted security attacks in the UK has recently been on the rise, and yesterday we detected a higher than usual number of attempts to break into websites hosted on our network. Our systems remained unaffected as we invest heavily in the security of our infrastructure.

However, as a precautionary measure we immediately disabled a segment of our customers’ FTP passwords. Furthermore, we have changed one of the rules for password length from being 6 characters to 8 characters. To reactivate your FTP access you will need to login to your Online Control Panel and create a new FTP password.

“Our systems remained unaffected”… but we are going to disable your [W:FTP] service and delete your password but not bother to tell you what we are doing.

Thanks!

Amazingly their billing department can send out reminders that they want you to give them your money months before the actual due date, and they will keep on sending them until you pay up. They even have warnings appear on their Control Panel when you log in…

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…but they are unable to find any means to notify you when they disable your account.

Fortunately they do have a Tell The Boss page. Fortunately there are other hosting companies….

The Amazing Bouncing Spam

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At 6:30 on Thursday (17/04/08) evening about 10 bounced spam emails arrived – someone having used my domain to send their spam. I had had a flurry of similar activity last year but that soon dried up. Over the next couple of days the number would edge towards 4500. On Friday 200 an hour were arriving.

Alarmingly some were “Out Of Office” auto-responses. I assume if anyone actually replied to the thing it would come back to me but replying to spam is never a good idea.

Several used some form of filtering service like Sendo or MailMarshal.

Most had the body of the message removed but from the few that had it intact it was apparently a link to bonmerfiket.net or Legal RX Medications as they like to be known. They have a splendid Anti Spam policy but you would not want to type your details into their form nor enter any financial details into their online order form – even though they claim years of experience, which is really impressive, but probably not too many customers in their early days.

Samuel Stimms seems to be somewhat elusive but if he actually existed he is probably related to Alex Polyakov who is usually high on the Spamhaus most wanted list.

If only everybody used a Mac we could be spared such things 😉