Comment, news and views about ServWise and the IT industries in general.
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user-agent CFNetwork problems

June 12th, 2019

We are recently seeing a huge increase in traffic from thousands of IPs using the user-agent header containing CFNetwork. Our research suggests this is a some part of an IOS image search bot in mobiles and the calls are always to non-existing image files.

Now this would not normally be a problem, but many sites like those using wordpress interrupt the 404 error of servers to serve there own content, and so for every call the website is often actually accessing the database and loading all the site content and can cause large cpu load.

This user-agent could also be being used as a method of DDOS by pretending to be a legitimate user-agent when in fact it is simply a DDOS attempt. In any case, even if not it is acting as such with the increased traffic we are seeing.

We believe maybe some sort of recent update to IOS has caused this increased unwanted traffic. personal review. Not at all as advertised.

August 1st, 2017

Not to long ago, I needed to implement some high speed internet into a house, located in a remote area of Italy. The local DSL which barely reached the area was terrible, only offering a maximum of about 300Kb of upload speed, and a few megs of download speed, and it was affected heavily by a full contention ratio which meant in the evenings, when all the local kids went online the speeds dropped dramatically.

So I decided to look at alternative options. The mobile offerings were to limiting with monthly traffic caps and so I found an advert for SkyDSL which is Broadband over satellite, it looked good, speeds were fast both upload and download, and no monthly traffic limits (At least that’s what they said) the only thing I was worried about was the latency which would be quite high but since we were not looking to do online gaming or such it wasn’t such a big issue.

SkyDSL cover the whole of europe so this review should apply to those outside Italy also.

I ordered the best package and in a  few weeks a big box was delivered containing all the hardware and the dish that needed installing on the side of the house.

I was able to install the dish and configured it in a few hours however this was not my first rodeo as they say, and the manual really was not very helpfull so I think unless you have some good IT and problem solving skills (and good Googlefu etc) then the install process could be much to difficult for many. I was a little annoyed that even though I had installed everything and was able to access the SkyDSL online portal to activate proving it was working, but because they had not *added* my details yet to their systems I was unable to activate and get internet for an additional 2 days.

Eventually I was online. Initial tests were great, very fast and I could stream Youtube no problem at high quality.

Things continued like this for a few days, I was testing the speeds as much as possible to make sure I was getting what I had paid for. Then suddenly on about the 4th day speeds plummeted. It was literally unusable even during off-peak periods. I checked all my hardware, swapped back to the landline DSL (which I luckily still had installed) to make sure it wasn’t me and eventually phoned their support to find out why everything had gone so slow.

They told me I had been put into a group of “high usage” users and the slow speeds were because of this. I was literally gobsmacked. No mention of anything like this on their website (Believe me I looked long and hard) and their plans prominently advertise  “Flat Rate without data volume restrictions which is what drew me to their offering.

Luckily I had purchased their most expensive plan which had a 30 day money back guarantee, I told them to cancel the service and refund my money, they ignored me so eventually I raised a complaint with PayPal which they still ignored but because of this PayPal went in my favor so I got my money back anyway.

Once I had my money back they contacted me very quickly to arrange for me to sent back their equipment at my cost.  Again this is not my first rodeo and I informed them that I would not do that, and that under EU law they had to pay the the return cost on what I considered mis sold goods and that if they did not arrange to pick up their equipment within 30 days I would put it up for sale to cover the cost of storage.

Eventually they conceded and arranged a courier to take the equipment away.

So in conclusion I would say if you are thinking for using then I would highly recommend against it. I was lucky, I purchased the only package with a 30 day money back guarantee  (Although remember kids these guarantees never override your consumer rights so don’t take any BS) and also I had paid with PayPal which made it easier for me to file a complaint and get my money back.

You have been warned, do not use these cowboys.

Don’t wait, do the update!

April 8th, 2014

If you run a website using one of the popular CMS, Forum or eCommerce platforms (WordPress, Joomla etc) then we urge you to update and secure it regularly, don’t wait, hackers are constantly searching out and attacking these types of website and in the last 12 months we have noticed the problem has become significantly worse. Brute force attacks are becoming a daily occurrence and here at we are regularly seeing badly secured websites hacked and used to send spam, host malware or phishing sites or simply defaced.

The things you should be doing now –

1. Update the base software regularly.
2. Protect your site from brute force attacks.
3. Know what plugins your site uses and actively update them.
4. Make sure you are using complex passwords, change the default admin username and don’t forget about your panel and ftp accounts. Use a tool like the free lastpass to generate and stored complex passwords for you.
5. Never use the same passwords for different logins and especially the SQL connection password which is typically stored in plain text inside your site files.
6. Make sure your site files and folders have the correct permissions set.
7. Take regular file and database backups to store locally.

The future of personal computing is mobile.

January 10th, 2012

With a lot of computer functionality moving to the “cloud” I was thinking about the future of personal computing as technology diverges and improves. My prediction is that smart phones eventually will become our TV’s, media Stations and desktop PC’s, they will be so powerful that they will be able to provide all our entertainment and computing needs in a portable and compact package.

Obviously we wont want to be squinting at a little smartphone screen to watch the latest film or typing a long essay using a thumb keypad so around the house we will have phone docks that hold the connectors for keyboards and mice and outputs to monitors or our massive wide screen tvs.

Our phones have become our media centres, personal computers and communications devices and we carry them around with us wherever we go. How cool would it be to be able to dock your smartphone at your mates house and have all of your media, games, data etc available to you as if you were at home.

I see this just on the horizon, all the components are there, they just need to improve a little more and it could be a reality very soon.