A web spider update: not actually Uptilt's web spider

February 28, 2006

A while back, I wrote an entry about a bad web spider that at the time appeared to belong to Uptilt Inc. About a week after I published the entry, some of the system administration folks from Uptilt stumbled across it and got in touch with me to look into the whole situation.

In fact they were pretty puzzled about the incident, because (as they put it) Uptilt didn't even do outgoing HTTP, much less have a web crawler; their business is based on email. After I provided some additional specific information to them, they worked out what seems to have happened.

According to them, didn't actually currently belong to Uptilt. Hurricane Electric had allocated it to them in November 2005, but when they ramped up operations from it in December they found they were getting a lot of emails from it blocked; upon investigation, they found that the subnet had previously been used by New Horizons, a well-known spammer, since 2004 or so (see eg the SPEWS listing). So Uptilt asked HE for a new clean netblock, and told HE to take back However, neither the ARIN WHOIS information nor some of Uptilt's own records got updated at that time.

Once the Uptilt Inc people worked out what was going on, they got in touch with HE to get the WHOIS information corrected (I expect they also made sure all of their internal records got corrected). Unfortunately, the updated WHOIS information is now completely generic, just showing Hurricane Electric's /18 with no delegation information. Also, the Uptilt people were unable to get HE to tell them who the netblock is now assigned to.

There's a lesson in here about making sure that records, even your own records, are up to date. I've certainly seen similar things happen with internal records here. (In fact back in August I wrote about the accuracy problems of non-essential information.)

Written on 28 February 2006.
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Last modified: Tue Feb 28 02:03:42 2006
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