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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Political anti-virus

I have previously described my ideas as "virulent" and it would appear that Symantec agrees, as a pair of commenters have noticed problems accessing this blog thanks to their anti-virus software:
Norton 360 AV is blocking this page as a "Fraudulent Web Page". I had to click through the block page to get here.

Symantec earlier was blocking your site, as well as several alt-right sites, as being "fraudulent." It wasn't just you, it was a bunch of birds of a feather, so I suspect something fishy has been going on.
I wonder if this site-blocking may in part explain the sudden and unprecedented 12 percent drop in traffic to VP that took place starting in May 2012, which was the first month since the blog started in 2003 that the traffic didn't increase year-on-year and seemed particularly strange in light of it being an election year. I had initially assumed the decline was the result of the switch from CoComment to Blogger comments, but it seemed like an extreme reaction, given that there was no similar drop when I made previous commenting system changes, and perhaps more importantly, there was no corresponding decline in Feedburner readers. In fact, last week marked a new Feedburner high.

Has anyone else noticed any similar problems with Symantec products and accessing ideologically transgressive web sites? I'll shoot an email to Instapundit and perhaps he can let other bloggers know they might want to have a look at their statistics and see if they are being similarly affected. If they, too, are seeing a decline starting around the middle of May, this may be indicative of shenanigans on Symantec's part.

Just to be clear, I don't do any phishing or gather any data on anyone visiting here beyond what Blogger and Sitemeter record.

Labels: ,

48 Comments:

Anonymous Rantor June 24, 2012 8:00 AM  

I have Norton Internet Security and it has never warned me about your site (Not Norton 360, I know). A year ago while staying at a Christian retreat center your site was blocked by their security system (don't know which software package). So someone put you on their list. Have you contacted Norton to find out what the problem is?

Anonymous Dif June 24, 2012 8:02 AM  

You're a clear and present danger.

Anonymous Anonymous June 24, 2012 8:08 AM  

Someone was having similar trouble over at gatesofvienna.blogspot.com

perhaps the ministry of truth is at work.

--monty

Anonymous The Ministry of Correct Thought June 24, 2012 8:17 AM  

We can't have people thinking non-PC now, can we?

Blogger Scott June 24, 2012 8:21 AM  

I noted that several sites had difficulties as you describe all at the same time. It wasn't Symantec, though; they all seemed to go down for different reasons (and as you note, for a long time your comment software wasn't working, and then going to voxday.blogspot.com vs. www.voxday.blogspot.com gave different results -- one with comments and one without.)

Sorry, but I don't remember exactly which ones anymore...

Anonymous Salt June 24, 2012 8:32 AM  

I've been experiencing different computer behavior across the spectrum lately, on both laptops (one is XP, other is VISTA). My AV is Panda.

Anonymous scoobius dubious June 24, 2012 8:34 AM  

"Sorry, but I don't remember exactly which ones anymore..."

Vanishing American and Mangan's, to name two. There were a bunch of others. Once I sensed a pattern I started clicking on random alt-right sites, even ones I'm not crazy about, to check the consistency, and it was indeed a bunch of alt-right sites, though I can't remember them all.

Blogger Scott June 24, 2012 8:35 AM  

Kind of remembering now...

Free Advice (Robert Murphy's blog) for a few weeks showed no updates whenever I'd visit. And then one day I loaded it and there were several weeks worth of posts I hadn't seen that whole time, even though I'd been continually visiting.

At the blog I contributed to at the time (Eternity Road, now Liberty's Torch), one of the other writers had a virus completely take down his computer, and was forced to submit posts by email to the host for a long time. I don't think he ever recovered his computer.

I think there was some other, but yes, all that was at exactly the same time your site was having problems. I remember thinking it was creepy at the time...

Anonymous Mr. Tzu June 24, 2012 8:47 AM  

Access, not blogging, I've encountered no problems so far. Currently using McAfee A/V plus. I do recall a few years ago that WorldNetDaily ran multiple stories which proclaimed those actions with web filters.

If you do confirm other websites are similarly restricted, it would be a reoccurring motif that affects certain ideological websites only.

Better than a SWATing but just as malcontent.

Anonymous Rantor June 24, 2012 8:57 AM  

ANother thought, it may depend on how high a security setting the user picks? I set mine at medium to low because otherwise a lot of stuff gets blocked or produces warnings.

Anonymous Buh... June 24, 2012 9:07 AM  

Just Curious...

Could this be because of the google penguin update which happened around May?

a lot of sites got de-indexed around that time

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Penguin

Anonymous Outlaw X June 24, 2012 9:08 AM  

I have no problem with Norton Anti Virus running Firefox or IE. My mother has Norton 360 AV I installed it for her last week. I'll check hers later.

Anonymous GHS June 24, 2012 9:10 AM  

You're also blocked by E-Safe, along with several other libertarian bloggers, for "drugs and illicit substances" or somesuch. Been so for quite a while, too, at least over a year. Being a workplace Internet filter it's unlikely it's causing much hinderance, but there's that.

(Curiously, only voxday.blogspot.com address is blocked, voxday.blogspot.fr/.de/.it work correctly.)

It's more likely that these are organized false flaggings of web sites, which leads to automatic suspension for malware in the antivirus' online database.

Sort of how there's been multiple non-leftist Twitter accounts suspended automatically through organized false reports of spamming.

It might be that Symantec, Norton and others aren't even aware that their system is being abused for political harassment.

BTW, using Kaspersky and haven't seen any problems on any site.

Anonymous stevev June 24, 2012 9:17 AM  

I work for a large semiconductor/microprocessor company, with a very strong commitment to diversity. HR staff almost universally female. I have no idea what Internet security software is used. While waiting for verification runs to finish, I occasionally browse Vox or Drudge. Frequently, I am met with some sort of "page unable to load" message. Enough to make me suspicious.

Anonymous dh June 24, 2012 9:44 AM  

> Just to be clear, I don't do any phishing or gather any data on anyone visiting here beyond what
> Blogger and Sitemeter record.

All of these tools use a "web of trust" model. This is a frequent problem with sites that have a "blogroll" of sorts.

Very likely one of these products manually added an exception to filter the Derbyshire piece. Since you linked to it, and to the webzine where it was hosted, and since it's likely your site generates a fair amount of click throughs to it, that's probably enough to set off your site as similiar.

However, it doesn't explain your drop in traffic. Those products would only block traffic from casual incoming hits. Almost like accidental traffic. Regular or dedicated readers would not be stopped.

Anonymous Orville June 24, 2012 9:47 AM  

I have Norton 360 and use Firefox with no problems at all. Curious problem.

Anonymous Noah B. June 24, 2012 10:02 AM  

I quit using Norton products around the same time i quit using the command prompt to park the hard drive heads. Nice to know they haven't improved their act much since then.

Blogger The Aardvark June 24, 2012 10:54 AM  

Red shirt presences like Alex Jones are constantly attacked in similar fashion...YouTube videos being deleted, like that. The left and their cries for ethics and niceness sure have a disconnect with practicing same in the marketplace.

Anonymous FrankNorman June 24, 2012 10:56 AM  

Happy Linux user here, so no need for Norten. For MS-Windows machines, I recommend ClamWin Antivirus.

Anonymous WARNING June 24, 2012 11:45 AM  

EMCON: A military Acronym for emissions control.

Every site you go to you are broadcasting yourself. The government, Can do more then just track you. You can(will) be redirect to sites that have false and misleading information.

Don't be an idiot and believe everything you read on any site. Research their stories. If they don't retract them when proven false you should avoid those sites.

Many radical web site are nothing more the pawns to attract the idiots for the government.

The Information the government gathers on you will be used against you.

Anonymous Randall June 24, 2012 12:09 PM  

I am using the basic Norton Antivirus and have not had any problems. It is likely the anti-phishing feature in Norton 360 that is blocking your site. I doubt that there is any political agenda on the part of Symantec at play here. I recommend checking into Google Penguin and using their feedback form. From the Wikipedia link above:

Two days after Penguin update was released, Google prepared a feedback form, designed for two categories of users: those who want to report web spam that still ranks highly after the search algorithm change, and those who think that their site got unfairly hit by the update. Google also has a reconsideration form through Google Webmaster Tools for the 700,000 sites who received an email stating their sites demonstrated unusual linking.

As for Norton Antivirus itself, I have found it to be superior to its competitors as far as my needs are concerned. Changes were made to its detection algorithms in around 2007 or 2008 that significantly improved its performance compared to older versions of the AV that were notorious for bogging down PCs.

Anonymous Randall June 24, 2012 2:06 PM  

test

Anonymous Randall June 24, 2012 2:29 PM  

I am using the basic Norton Antivirus and have not had any problems. It is likely the anti-phishing feature in Norton 360 that is blocking your site. I doubt that there is any political agenda on the part of Symantec at play here. I recommend checking into Google Penguin and using their feedback form.

As for Norton Antivirus itself, I have found it to be superior to its competitors as far as my needs are concerned. Changes were made to its detection algorithms in around 2007 or 2008 that significantly improved its performance compared to older versions of the AV that were notorious for bogging down PCs.

Anonymous Holla June 24, 2012 3:38 PM  

It's probably the cobbled-together comment system.

Anonymous FP June 24, 2012 3:46 PM  

The Gates of Vienna blog reported having the same problem the other day. Folks in Norway and the USA got the message/block.

Gates of Vienna

Blogger Ilíon June 24, 2012 4:06 PM  

"Has anyone else noticed any similar problems with Symantec products and accessing ideologically transgressive web sites?"

John Jay, an Aussie atheist-yet-conservative has

Blogger Ilíon June 24, 2012 4:06 PM  

I'm sorry, that's John (Jay) Ray.

Anonymous patrick kelly June 24, 2012 4:19 PM  

I haven't noticed it with this site or anti virus software, but occasionally I get warnings from Chrome about other sites suddenly being "unsafe" or something like that, and they all are either known for right or libertarian leaning writing, or they sell survival/"tactical" stuff. I just click past the warnings.

I've also noticed that Google seems to selectively never auto complete some site urls, like antiwar.com.

Anonymous Anonymous June 24, 2012 4:27 PM  

yes If I connect at work you are labled as porn. Started in may

Anonymous Randall June 24, 2012 4:38 PM  

Something interesting happened earlier while I was attempting to comment on this post. My previous comment appeared to post successfully, only to disappear after refreshing the page. I made a second attempt, only to have the same thing happen again.

I had verified that I was using the Name/URL method of posting correctly and that I had Firefox set to accept third-party cookies. I thought that maybe I was having my comment deleted due to some violation of the blog rules of which I was unaware. After emailing Vox and receiving his reply, it became apparent that he was not deleting my comments.

I waited a couple of hours and tried posting the "test" comment that appears above. Having been successful, I tried 2 more times to post my original comment, each time resulting in the removal of the comment.

I had noticed that each time I tried to post the comment, it was being removed as fast as I could verify its appearance at the end of the comments and then refresh the page. This led me to believe that it was being removed by an automated process.

After thinking about it for a minute, I recalled that the second paragraph of my original comment was copied and pasted from the Wikipedia page about Google Penguin that was mentioned earlier in the comments by Buh. I decided to test my comment without the Wikipedia content, and it has posted successfully and remained.

I am left to conclude that Blogger must have recognized the Wikipedia content as copyrighted material and removed it automatically.

The funny part about this is that I experienced a form of content blocking while commenting on a blog post where the topic involved content blocking.

Anonymous Idle Spectator June 24, 2012 5:32 PM  

It is because someone said vulva.

Anonymous VD June 24, 2012 5:49 PM  

It's probably the cobbled-together comment system.

Blogger? What is cobbled-together about Blogger?

Anonymous SL June 24, 2012 6:19 PM  

Been getting a lot of "page unable to load" messages lately. But the second tries have always been successful.

Anonymous bob k. mando June 24, 2012 7:55 PM  

i've had no issues with your site, Vox. running AVG and Vista.

however, The Spearhead was throwing warnings ~ month ago. i think Mr. Price may have actually had his server compromised while he was overseas ... ?

Anonymous cherub's revenge June 24, 2012 8:05 PM  

Looks like Norton too, and widespread, not just political:

Norton Safe Web Is Claiming That All BlogSpot Blogs Are Fraudulent


We are seeing a steadily increasing flood of reports, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, from people who use Norton Safe Web, and who are now seeing some distressing advice.

When I try to view any BlogSpot blog, I see

This web page is a known fraudulent web page. It is recommended that you do NOT visit this page.
Looks like Norton too and it's widespread.


For your protection, this web page has been blocked. Visit Symantec to learn more about phishing and internet security.

What is Google doing about this false alert?


Since Norton (aka Symantec) is not a part of Google, there is not a lot that Blogger or Google can do about this problem.

Anonymous Joe Ruskendude June 24, 2012 10:46 PM  

I've been using Norton 360 for several years and it's never blocked your site through my web browser, either through Firefox or Chrome. However, there's a Symantec addon that shows up in Firefox that I have disabled. Additionally, even though "Safe Surfing" is checked in the Norton 360 settings, it says, "Parental controls have not been configured".

It's probably true that Norton is blocking you some for those who let Norton filter what they view through their browser, as mentioned in the comment above, but the only blocking I get is from Google when it tells me a site isn't safe.

It's a fact that very active dialog through commenting is going to dramatically up a blogger's page views. But people reading your blog through RSS readers aren't necessarily the type of people who will visit your site to make comments, or even to read the posts. So, it's reasonable that your site traffic could go down, but your RSS readers could go up.

If your traffic went down at the same time you switched off of cocomment, the most likely answer is that it was Cocomment. If Cocomment made it really easy to engage in dialog with other people, then it had to affect your traffic. People are only going to scroll through 30, or 40, or 100 comments so many times to see if their comment bait got a comment bite from someone else.

Looking at your previous 12 months, your traffic went down after a relative peak in January, but it went up a little in May. Also, the pattern from August 2011 to December 2011 is similar to January 2012 to May 2012. Speculating, I'd say it reflects how the web works. You get new readers that up your traffic. Some stay, but many leave after the newness wears off. Then some come back. So forth and so on, the cycle continues.

People are fickle. Every rock star has only so much staying power. One year Bruce Springsteen is packing stadiums, but his star fades, and then he's only packing small venues. No one knows when their star will fade in the eyes of the public. People are fickle.

Norton only has a certain percentage of the anti-virus market, so it appears there has to be other factors involved.

May your site rot in hell. May your star fade. May God judge you in a way that would take you out of action in public forums. May you be censored to the utmost, unless it would result in me being censored also, or result in a decrease in good forms of human liberty.

Blogger mmaier2112 June 24, 2012 11:04 PM  

It's been happening to me too, but it seems to be spread about the net randomly.

It's very annoying, especially when it won't let you bypass the safeguards.

But it usually clears up soon enough, like in a few hours.

Blogger jamsco June 25, 2012 1:09 AM  

Vox, is April typically a low month for you?

Are some months typically better

Anonymous Holla June 25, 2012 12:00 PM  

VOX:
It's probably the cobbled-together comment system.

Blogger? What is cobbled-together about Blogger?


Aren't you running some sort of home-brewed code for the comments? I seem to remember you mentioning that.

Anonymous olfox June 25, 2012 12:40 PM  

I was in Montreal this past weekend, and I tried accessing the blog from the public wifi at Complexes DesJardine. It was a banned site.

Anonymous WaterBoy June 25, 2012 4:53 PM  

Test.

Some comments have been disappearing, including one that just said 'Test'.

Anonymous VD June 25, 2012 5:58 PM  

Aren't you running some sort of home-brewed code for the comments? I seem to remember you mentioning that.

No, that was the old commenting system. This is Blogger.

Anonymous 204 June 25, 2012 8:09 PM  

I use ESET. When that pamphlet came out claiming that Obama was born in Kenya, I tried visiting his old ad agency's website, ESET had blocked it. Apparently it had some text saying that Obama was born in kenya. ESET is allowing me to visit it now, but they have changed Obama's text. the original is in the wayback archive here: http://web.archive.org/web/20070326044550/http://www.dystel.com/clientlist.html#b

Anonymous 204 June 25, 2012 8:15 PM  

You can view all the later mirrors they have, it changes from born in Kenya to born in Hawaii and now it doesn't say anything about where he was born.

Anonymous Anonymous July 10, 2012 12:35 AM  

nice posting.. thanks for sharing.

Anonymous Interactive Video Wall August 14, 2012 9:39 AM  

Once viruses have infected your computer, they can drastically slow down your processing speeds, delete critical and important personal files and images, and in the worst case, cause irreparable physical damage to your computer.

Anonymous PCHELP EXPERTS November 23, 2012 7:16 AM  

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