Feeds

Sophos sorry for blog comment spam campaign

Marketing agency gets up to mischief

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.