It’s now official: Geocities is dead, and Yahoo is responsible. It wasn’t without warning; Yahoo announced six months ago that it would be shutting down Geocities (and all of the user sites it was hosting). As of today, it appears that all Geocities user sites are no longer available to view online.
Geocities, like WebSpawner, started offering free web space to users back in the mid 1990′s. Through ad-supported free hosting, both companies have helped millions of people who may not have otherwise been able to create or host a web site to get a site online for free.
Yahoo acquired Geocities back in 1999, but a decade later decided to pull the plug on it entirely, leaving its user base without the free hosting solution so many had come to depend upon. Yahoo decided to do this despite more than 10 million monthly unique visitors to the sites of Geocities users, according to WebProNews.com, stating that Geocities and its user base were “no longer counted among Yahoo’s priorities.” Geocities is just the latest service axed at the Yahoo chopping block; about 20 Yahoo services have been discontinued this year.
All of us here at WebSpawner would like to extend our condolences to the many ex-Geocities users affected by this decision. We’ve been providing millions of users with free web sites since 1996 and we continue to do so. If you were affected by the Geocities shutdown and would like a new dependable free solution for hosting a site online, we welcome you to create a free web site with WebSpawner today.
We are now able to provide more details on the Wachovia Phishing Scam that we warned about in a previous post a few days ago, as we received one of the phishing emails here at WebSpawner this weekend.
Following is the text of the email as we received it, with relevant header information included:
From: “Wachovia connection Update”
Subject: Wachovia Connection Alert – Update.
Received: from 46-7-112-92.pool.ukrtel.net (unverified [126.96.36.199])
Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary=”=_9OyEKqboHv5TFx”
WACHOVIA CORPORATION NOTICE.
At Wachovia we’ve re-imagined what’s possible for online cash management.
The next step in the transformation of Wachovia Connection is access through a new Wachovia Security Plus Certificate.
This will allow you to access securely the Wachovia Connection and other online services.
All users will be notified and must manually install the Wachovia Security Plus Certificate.
Installation takes about two minutes.
Start installation process now>>
Sincerely, Betsy Parsons.
2008 Wachovia Corporation.
All rights reserved.
The “Start installation process now>>” text in the email is a link to what appears to be a Wachovia impostor web site with a long URL address at a “polesbue.com” domain. For security purposes we have not included the link itself in the message text above, to prevent any viewers of this article from accidentally accessing the impostor site. The site contains a link to “Download the latest WachoviaDCertInstall.exe release”, which is an executable file that could include a computer virus or trojan horse.
Wachovia bank itself is not the sender of these emails; the “From” address in the email is spoofed to appear to come from Wachovia. A search of the ARIN WHOIS database for the IP address shown in the “Received: from” line of the header information indicates that the message was sent through an IP address associated with a “RIPE Network Coordination Centre” located in Amsterdam. That isn’t to say that RIPE itself is responsible for the message; it may have been sent by another individual or party using RIPE’s services or mail server.
Should you receive a message like the one above, you should delete it without clicking the link it contains.
A browse of news web sites this morning reveals that a new phishing scam has been identified. The phishing emails disguise themselves as being from Wachovia, one of several banks currently experiencing difficulties and at the heart of the current Wall Street financial crisis.
The phishing emails falsely indicate that they are a “Wachovia Corporation Notice” and request personally identifying information for the recipient to receive a “Wachovia Security Plus Certificate.”
In some reports, the phishing emails are said to contain a computer virus known as the “Gozi” Trojan Horse, which could result in an infected computer and personal data exposure.
As with any other phishing emails, individuals who receive this latest Wachovia email should simply delete it immediately without clicking any links within.
For more information on phishing scams and how to avoid becoming a victim, see our previous article titled Avoiding Internet Pitfalls: “Phishing” Scams. For tips on how to keep your computer from becoming infected with Trojan Horses and other viruses, see our previous post Avoiding Internet Pitfalls: Malware.
So you’ve finished your shopping, wrapped the gifts, baked some Christmas cookies and hung your stockings by the chimney with care. Your house is decorated and lit from rooftop to foundation. So what else is there to do on Christmas Eve? Why, grab some eggnog and gather the family around the warm glow of your computer screen to track Santa’s travels online, of course!
For more than 50 years, NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command), a bi-national military organization ever on the watch for man-made threats in the skies over Canada and the United States, has utilized its high-tech equipment each Christmas Eve to track the travels of Santa Claus in his sleigh. Each year NORAD provides updates to radio and television stations on the progress of jolly St. Nick’s travels, and in more recent years has also been providing live tracking information on the internet.
The NORAD TRACKS SANTA 2007 website is online now with fun activities including an interactive North Pole Map with games and more, and on Christmas Eve it will provide up-to-the-minute information on the exact whereabouts of Santa and his sleigh (and the reindeer, too). Visit the website with your kids now as they are sure to find it fun, and don’t forget to bookmark it for Christmas Eve.
For the nice (and naughty) girls and boys in the United Kingdom, the Wroxall-Weather website will also provide live Santa tracking on Christmas Eve starting at 7:00pm local time. As of now, the website has a countdown timer ticking off the seconds until Santa leaves the North Pole to begin his journey.
All of us here at WebSpawner wish you and yours a safe and happy holiday season and a very happy new year!