Wednesday, June 04, 2008

How Firefox's Tabbed Browsing is Helping Scammers in Africa

One of the worst things about tabbed browsing is the ability to open many sites ( in tabs ) at the same time while navigating them easily without switching the windows.
The Mozilla Firefox browser has strongly pushed tabed browsing due to the ease of use it brings to web surfing. I personally see how it helps me read soo many blog articles or tutorials in the same browser. But the worst part of it all is how this our African Scammers use it to open many "classified ads " sites to post same spam on all sites. You need to see how they post about 200 spams in an hour, just with the help of tab browsing. What will happen if they put in 6 hours ? If my maths is right, one person will post 1200 items in 6 hours. Usually they have internet at home, just imagine the spam they can be posting, and still captcha cant do anything.
See how Firefox from the Mozilla foundation is helping them spam classified ads sites.

No wonder was already complaining about spam.

I went to a cyber cafe here in Buea( Cameroon ) the other day, and I saw a young boy of about 18 years working with the Mozilla firefox browser on a pentium III windows xp system with about 128 mb ram and he had opened about 50 tabs on the same Window. Beside him I found guys complaining about the internet connection being too slow [ what could be the cause of the slow lines ? ].
Actually with soo many tabs open, and about five such young guys in that cyber, then no body will be able to use the internet anymore, just because five computers are already consuming the bandwidth required by 50 computers. What will the others use now to read their yahoo mail [ ofcourse 50% browsing in Africa is yahoo mail and 40% is manual spamming ;) ].
I personally think if Mozilla foundation can put a customisation module on Firefox where a cyber cafe admin can set the number of tabs to open per window, then this issue will reduce the number of spams per day from scammers in Africa. And I think it will help to ensure the proper netiquette to be practised in African cyber cafes.
This will prevent scammers to open many tabs and copy paste ads into many classified sites. Remember even Captcha cant stop manual posting, so we have to do something about this multi tab browsing abuse.
To conclude I strongly blame the scammers for using Firefox to send their spams faster, I love tab browsing, but I want the world to see how Africans are using it for the bad side. And about Mozilla Foundation: they are not actually the ones promoting it, but people always devise bad things out of good ones.


Itoro said...

You shouldn't blame mozilla. Mozilla shouldn't build this into their browsers either. The best thing would be for someone, preferably from a country where bandwidth is a problem, like Cameroun, to write a plug-in for the browser that would do this.

wow, I didn't realize (and I am sure it wasn't Mozilla's intent) that opening so many tabs had such an effect on bandwidth. Oh well, at least mozilla is better than IE :)

Uncle Che said...

Well, Mambe, there are certain things that are always very difficult for us to change at our level. I thought of a simillar thing when I saw the way some of our African Brothers use Microsoft Word, Microsoft Paint and Microsoft Photo Editor (now discontinued) to produce fake documents and certificates that look "more authentic" than original copies. That isn't what those applications were meant for.

Concerning the Firefox issue, I hope you haven't forgotten the group of people we call "black legs". Even if Mozilla does something to help Cyber Cafe Admins to fight against the actions of scammers and spammers, some Cyber Admins will refuse to implement it, and as a result, they will have more customers than those who want to fight against scamming and spamming.

I don't blame mozilla. I can't do without tabs (positively) and most of my brothers also can't do without tabs (negatively).

mambenanje said...

Itoro and Uncle che I like your comments, and I personally think I will build a plugin to firefox that will control the bandwidth a single browser can carry so that cyber admins can use it to adequately share the bandwidth on every computer in a cyber cafe.

Nino said...

We are strongly waiting for this plugin.

That's a very good idea Churchill.

ongola boy said...

i'd like to say that even cyber admin can limit the resources that are used by clients. For instance with SQUID ( ) there is a parameter in the config file called maxconn which can be used to set the number of connections per IP address in your network.
You can even go further with proxies in general but it depends on your policies.
Concerning the features of firefox web browser, you shouldn't blame mozilla as somebody already said early. It's the users who are wrong !!!
A way to reduce the threat is to educate people.

mambenanje said...

Ongola boy
nice comment, but educating people is alot of money. Do you have anymeans by which we can spread this squid faster? I think it will be a good solution too

ongola boy said...

squid usually comes with any GNU/linux flavors. Once installed in a machine of your network you should redirect all the local traffic to your new server. You can find more explanations here

In our areas, i think it should be mandatory to use proxy software. At least because we need to save the bandwidth.

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