Friday, December 02, 2005

Podcast Hijacked, Held for Ransom

Apparently Erik Marcus had his podcast feed hijacked but I don't quite understand how it happened. I suppose, the way it was described, it could happen only if one wasn't paying attention to their referrals, logs, or stat-tracking data. Otherwise you would easily see that 1000 hits on your feed, and your actual podcasts themselves, were all from the same IP address/referrer.

Podcast Hijacked, Held for Ransom: "Rather, it merely involves finding a target Podcast and creating a unique URL for it on a Web site that the hijacker can control. The hijacker then points his URL to the RSS feed of the target Podcast.

Next, the hijacker does whatever it takes to ensure that, as new Podcast engines come to market, the page each engine creates for the target Podcast points to the hijacker's URL instead of to the Podcast creator's official URL."

I think the mod_clicktrack module for Apache will be able to help this by allowing podcasters to complete visibility into exactly who (what ip addresses) are downloading their feeds. It makes me wonder if we should put in a feature to automatically watch for this kind of trend and notify the feed owner by email when too many requests are coming from the same IP address.

Let me know what you think. Would this be a useful feature?


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