David Taylor, who helps administer the MySpace Group World Artist Network, tells a similar tale. With more than 211,000 members, WAN says it's the largest single MySpace group. But recently, WAN underwent a relentless attack that has brought the group to its knees. As recently as this weekend, members browsing the forum had to wade through 27 pages of blank entries before finding genuine content. Several members including Taylor are unable to post. The miscreants responsible have the ability to ban members and pin and unpin topics, effectively allowing them to wrest control of the group away from its rightful owners.
"They're really malicious," Taylor says.
As a senior information security specialist for the University of Pennsylvania, it's fair to say Taylor has a tad more technical sophistication than the typical MySpace user. But even with his credentials, he has been unable to convince MySpace security people to deploy several measures he says would go a long way to preventing the kinds of attacks his group is being crippled by.
They include anti-flood technology that would require members posting more than a set number of comments in a given period (for instance more than 10 posts by the same user in a few minutes) to complete a captcha dialogue. That would eliminate the use of third-party scripts he suspects the saboteurs are using to spray an unending stream of scat porn and other postings all over his group.
He's also calling for features that would give group admins more control, such as the ability to appoint moderators and the addition of buttons to the main thread page that would allow group leaders to ban and block the trouble makers. (Taylor's entire wish list is posted here.)
A quick search suggests that other MySpace groups, including President Bush is an Asshole, Support Gay Marriages and Daily Bible Verse for MySpace may also be under attack. Taylor reckons most of the steps needed to stop this nonsense would take little time to implement because they involve technologies MySpace already has in place.
In recent months, MySpace has taken steps to reclaim its site from the forces of darkness. In January and March respectively, it sued Scott Richter and Sanford Wallace for allegedly spamming MySpace users. (The site has also added features designed to protect its youngest users from predatory adults, although we're still not convinced the measures are effective.)
But so far, it appears MySpace is more concerned about the smooth operation of the machine that feeds banner ads to it's 177m registered users than it is in ensuring they can surf the site unmolested by trouble makers. As Taylor puts it: "I don't think they understand the impact this causes on the user community. I'm actually not very optimistic. Perhaps this last week may change that." ®
myspace - or the dangers of letting people use macromedia products and thinking there developers
myspace looks like and i suspect has in large parts been made entirly on a rainy Saturday, by some fartknocker with the ability to drag and drop.
Given a site of its size coldfusion seems like an odd choice for its development, that lack of any real input filtration, remember when it first launched when u were able to inject an IFRAME and totally hide the contents of your page with a page hosted elsewhere or in other words have a perfect phishing shelter
Similarly why any script is able to get through the filters is absurd to me, it really isn't that difficult to filter out the majority of methods used in XSS (disallowing script tags and the string 'eval(' goes a long long way to mitigating the damage), hell even requests for remote resources like all the cunningly concealed tracking packages disguised as 'fun' personality tests should be filtered by there mime type at the very least
but given the general deficiencies in there client interface, im not surprised that the administrative interface can do something simple like delete the post from multiple pages, most likely they delete the post body but fail to delete the update to the thread, so they delete out of one table and leave it in another
have they never heard of cascade delete????, u know that usefull db function which deletes records directly related to the record deleted?
Myspace was never about the technology
It's always been a horribly designed site where a good portion of features weren't working. Myspace got lucky when users were fleeing Friendster and that's what they capitalised on. Right now they need to fix their architecture or people will flee elsewhere... Facebook anyone?
Maybe Murdoch's made enough money now and is ready to let this ship go down?
As someone who's been involved with forums for years...
I am amused at these people who are complaining that their centralised system designed for groups of less than 100 user communities is suffering at the high end.
Get your own system, run your own software! Cheap bastards!