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Stealth Tactics by Microsoft

Late Monday evening my website was barraged by a series of anonymous probes (no User Agent string) requesting an assortment of pages. This went on for nearly two hours, then stopped as suddenly as it had begun. The requests were from two IP address blocks, 131.107.0.xx and 207.46.89.xx. Since I consider this to be highly suspicious activity, I investigated. I was shocked to discover that both of these IP address blocks are assigned to Microsoft Corporation.

MORE ....

This is the second stealth incursion by Microsoft that I have uncovered on my website. I detailed the first, which came from Microsoft (China) Co. Ltd., just five days ago in my Bot Watch - An Annoying Little Bot post.

I am uncertain as to what Microsoft's agenda is with regard to these anonymous visits. Perhaps they routinely investigate websites anonymously in order to uncover potential search engine trickery on the part of webmasters. They must be aware, however, that prudent webmasters will block any such dubious incursion on their websites. I certainly do. Perhaps that is why MSN (potentially reincarnated as Live Search) no longer lists my site. Small loss — MSN has yet to measure up in terms of relevant search results.

My words of advice to visitors, webmasters and to large corporations alike: If you are honest and interested in what a website has to offer, let webmasters know who you are. If you run a search engine, identify yourself clearly and offer a link in your User Agent string to a page describing the purpose of your crawler. Don't sneak around. When you enter a website, you are treading on someone else's turf. If you wander into my house and roam around unannounced, don't be surprised if the next time you come by, the door is locked.

Posted by: The Spidermaster on Jan 24, 07 | 3:45 pm | Profile

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