OpenBSD Journal

Webmasters: 404 errors from

Contributed by Dengue on from the big-brother-is-watching-you-and-selling-the-results dept.

james phillips writes "This popped up on the INCIDENTS list the other day, and I looked through my logs, and sure enough found a ton of traffic, including a bunch of 404 errors originating from this IP. If you follow this IP, you will be taken to This company appears to specialize in scouring your website for information it then attempts to resell to other businesses."

What it appears cyveillance is doing here is searching websites for information to sell to corporate entities for damage control purposes and copyright enforcement. This in itself bothers me, because the content of my site is not for resale. Selling the information of this website violates the copyright I hold for the information here, as well as the copyrights of all of the contributors all the way down to the comment posters copyright for their contribution.

But the bigger issues I have with this are the following:

  • The intent of this access is hidden
    • Address does not resolve, masking the identity
    • The browser type is listed as "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 4.01; Windows NT)", which is a misrepresentation for an automated search tool. Another attempt at masking their activities.
  • Attempts are made to access content in directories with names such as "private/" and to access content that has never existed on the server.
  • In order to determine the cause of this activity, you actually have to go to for an explanation. I suggest everyone read it and determine for yourselves what the intent is.

This activity is no different than portscanning a host, or connecting to port 137 on a wintel box and grabbing the NETBios names.

Because of the truly fraudulent nature of this activity, I urge all webmasters to check their logs for accesses from this IP and to enact measures to prevent further access from this company until they:

  • Properly reverse-map the ip addresses they use for their informational gathering activities.
  • Change the USER_AGENT to properly identify themselves in log entries and to follow accepted spider protocol.
  • Seek copyright permission prior to the sale of copyrighted material in accordance with the Copyright statutes of the Host nation.
Big Brother is here.


(Comments are closed)

  1. By louis () on

    It looks like they learned some manners. They
    visited my site Jan.29 and pulled robots.txt
    but they don't appear to have followed the
    links in the file.

  2. By Anonymous Coward () on

    [root@www /root]# grep -c /var/log/httpd/access*


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