Feeds

Sophos sorry for blog comment spam campaign

Marketing agency gets up to mischief

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Sophos has apologised after a third-party marketing agency hired by the anti-virus and anti-spam specialist sprayed link spam on the blog of security expert Gunter Ollmann.

Multiple auto-generated comments submitted to Ollmann's technicalinfo.net blog containing hyperlinks to the anti-malware portal on the Sophos website. The posts were made by tools designed to automate spam and SEO attacks. The blog spam tactic was an attempt to boost the search engine ranking of the Sophos site.

Although Ollmann caught the messages before they made it onto his site he was understandably unimpressed by the ruse. "I find this a pretty unsavory tactic, especially if it's initiated by a security company looking to be trusted by its customers", Ollmann, CTO of security firm Damballa and who previously worked in IBM's ISS security tools division, wrote on Thursday.

"Sophos - if you're listening - stop your comment spam campaign and end your SEO attacks. It's unprofessional."

Sophos distanced itself from the blog spamming tactics. The approach was the idea of a marketing agency hired by Sophos, which the security firm promised will be taken to task over its tactics.

"I am mortified, as is everyone in our marketing team, that this has happened," a Sophos spokesman told El Reg. "The messages were not posted on that guy's blog by an employee of Sophos, but by a worker at an external company hired by our marketing department."

Sophos has offered an apology to Ollmann, who has accepted it, and promised a review of its processes to make sure the incident does not get repeated.

"We have called the [marketing] company concerned in for a meeting today, and will be reading the riot act to them," Sophos explained in a statement. "Furthermore, we will be ensuring that this kind of activity stops immediately, as it runs counter to everything we believe in as a computer security company."

"There's enough junk on the internet already - we don't need firms representing computer security companies adding to the problem with such inane and unprofessional posts," it added.

Ollmann is far from alone among security bloggers in facing the irksome chore of fending off blog comment spam. Similar comment spam also hit the anti-virus-rants blog but in that case the comment spam promoted both Sophos and rival Kaspersky Lab. One of these comments actually made it onto the site of Canadian blogger Kurt Wismer. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Google recommends pronounceable passwords
Super Chrome goes into battle with Mr Mxyzptlk
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Reddit wipes clean leaked celeb nudie pics, tells users to zip it
Now we've had all THAT TRAFFIC, we 'deplore' this theft
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
TorrentLocker unpicked: Crypto coding shocker defeats extortionists
Lousy XOR opens door into which victims can shove a foot
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.