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Pete Atkin >> Members >> Guests...........
(Message started by: Paul Leighton on Today at 14:51)

Title: Guests...........
Post by Paul Leighton on Today at 14:51
Greetings all.

Just had a rather unexpected moment with our MV Forum! When I logged-on to
bring myself up-to-date I found there was nothing more recent than the exchanges I had previously read.  However....however.... Steve's remarkable web-site indicated that although I was the only member on-line, we had at that moment, approx 1345 today, 18 "guests".  Does anyone know what might have provoked that sudden rush of interest? I am intrigued.

Title: Re: Guests...........
Post by S J Birkill on Today at 15:37
Hello Paul

The highest number of 'Guests' I've ever seen reported was well over 100, just for a period of a half-hour or so. It might have been tempting to believe there'd been a surge of interest in Pete's music, inspired perhaps by a radio broadcast or an on-line news item, but I think the true explanation may be otherwise.

The Web, and the Internet in general, plays host to a great many automated crawlers or 'bots'. Some of these are benign, such as the ones which continuously trawl websites to index content for search engines. But in recent years these have been hugely outnumbered by malicious bots, software entities whose sole purpose is to seek out and exploit vulnerabilities in servers, websites and scripts.

On finding such a security hole, the bot will attempt to use it, perhaps to distribute spam via a response form, to install its own routines on the server for gathering email addresses, logins or financial information, or even to exploit secondary vulnerabilities in browsers accessing the site, as in a recent publicly reported issue elsewhere with Internet Explorer.

We did go through a phase a few years back when a rash of fake Forum registrations appeared, but I stopped them in their tracks by switching to manual email confirmation of membership, and later floored them at the first hurdle by asking a simple 'human' question at the point of registration. I'm sure these registration attempts were made by bots.

It remains entirely feasible for an apparent conspiracy of bots to occur, when a large number alight on the same website for a short while, each attempting to find a way in, before moving on to bother some other hapless potential victim. This, I believe, may explain the occasional apparently random peaking of Guest numbers.


PS: On the other hand... given our large and loyal membership, and bearing in mind that many members will check the site for updates without actually logging in, might it not seem quite reasonable for as many as 18 of us to be around, around lunchtime on a Monday?

PPS: Must get that clock fixed!


Title: Re: Guests...........
Post by Paul Leighton on Today at 16:02
Aah.......! And, yes you must! I confess, I had not noticed.

Title: Re: Guests...........
Post by Angie P on Today at 16:15
Hi guys,

I once logged in at 4 a m (night shift!) to discover there were 13 “guests” online.

Was thinking of applying for membership of the PA forum for insomniacs.  Devastated to learn it doesn’t exist!


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