AbuseIO – Open Source abuse management

AbuseIO is an Open Source software for management of abuse reports.  It’s like a specialized ticketing/support system, which can automatically parse a variety of abuse notifications, file them, notify the team, and provide the tools to respond and close the incident.  In a nutshell:


  • 100% Free & Open Source
  • Works with IPv4 and IPv6 addresses
  • Automatically parse events into abuse tickets and add a classification
  • Integrate with existing IPAM systems
  • Set automatic (re)notifications per case or customer with configurable intervals
  • Allow abuse desks and end users to reply, close or add notes to cases
  • Link end users to a self help portal in case they need help to resolve the issue

If that sounds interesting, have a look at the Features page.  You might also want to read the blog post covering a last year’s release of AbuseIO version 4.0.

The system is written in PHP, with Laravel framework, so making changes and adding features should be quite easy.


Block unwanted advertisements with /etc/hosts file on Linux

Back in the old days, before the browsers even had extensions like Adblock Plus, many of us – tech-savvy web surfers – used to block unwanted advertising, SPAM sites, and other non-sense using the /etc/hosts file.  The technology behind is very simple – you overwrite the IP address to which the unwanted website’s domain name resolves with a loopback IP address (  Whether you do it on your own machine or at a home/office proxy server is irrelevant.  And it worked magic!

Turns out, people still use this technique today.   I came across this article, which shows how to use a rather extensive list of domains for all sorts of online madness, collected and maintained by kind folks at http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/.

I tried it out of pure curiosity and sure enough it does what it says.  I’ve reverted back to Adblock Plus a couple of days later though, as random sites were breaking here and there.  I think this might be related to different adblock-detectors that many sites employ these days.  Also, some of the ads use things like embedded scripts or buttons, which might render JavaScript errors, preventing the rest of the page from loading.

But if you’ve never tried it, I strongly recommend giving it a go.

Steven Black hosts files

StevenBlack/hosts repository:

Extending and consolidating hosts files from a variety of sources like adaway.org, mvps.org, malwaredomains.com, someonewhocares.org, yoyo.org, and potentially others. You can optionally invoke extensions to block additional sites by category.

Categories include: adware, malware, gambling, porn, and social networks.

Google Street View vs. captcha

Google Online Security Blog shares the news on the innovation in image recognition technology used in Google Street View:

Translating a street address to an exact location on a map is harder than it seems. To take on this challenge and make Google Maps even more useful, we’ve been working on a new system to help locate addresses even more accurately, using some of the technology from the Street View and reCAPTCHA teams.

This technology finds and reads street numbers in Street View, and correlates those numbers with existing addresses to pinpoint their exact location on Google Maps. We’ve described these findings in a scientific paper at the International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR). In this paper, we show that this system is able to accurately detect and read difficult numbers in Street View with 90% accuracy.

Here are some examples of correctly identified street numbers – quite impressive!

street numbers

What’s even more interesting that pushing this technology for good uses also empowers the evil side of things:

Turns out that this new algorithm can also be used to read CAPTCHA puzzles—we found that it can decipher the hardest distorted text puzzles from reCAPTCHA with over 99% accuracy.


Sendy – Amazon SES-based bulk email software

Sendy – Amazon SES-based bulk email software

Sendy is a self hosted email newsletter application that lets you send trackable emails via Amazon Simple Email Service (SES). This makes it possible for you to send authenticated bulk emails at an insanely low price without sacrificing deliverability.