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2014 Valentine's Day Retail Performance Report [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted on February 19th, 2014 by Boyana Peeva in Performance Reports

2014 Valentine's Day Retail Performance Report infographic

Valentine’s Day ended a bit gloomy for retailers this year, although sales increased by 8% during the last week of 14th of February and online traffic and online sales were still up compared to 2013.

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How to Use the Reports Section

Posted on February 17th, 2014 by Robert Close in Monitoring

An Overview

Collecting monitoring data is a significant part of our business but showing and providing this data in an easy-to-understand way is just as important to us and to our customers. We have many different levels of monitoring and thus a variety of reports clients can choose from. As our company is customer-driven, we have created more than 100 different reports that can fulfill all of our clients’ requirements.

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Setting Up Blacklist Monitoring

Posted on February 13th, 2014 by Robert Close in Monitoring

Black listHave you ever wondered why some spam filters block the emails sent from your server?

A possible reason for such problems might be that your servers are blacklisted in a DNSBL list (DNS-based Blackhole List) which the spam filters use to verify that you are not a spammer. So, to make sure the IP of your mail server is not present in most of the major blacklist services’ lists, you can use out Blacklist (DNSBL) monitoring service.

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Web Performance and Availability during Holiday Season 2013, [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted on January 27th, 2014 by Boyana Peeva in Performance Reports

2013 Holiday Season retail websites downtime and response times

Online sales during this holiday season (November 21st, 2013 – January 6th, 2014) weren’t as miraculously high as retailers were hoping for but still December sales gave a lift to the US economy.

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Internet users in China hit with a massive DNS issue

Posted on January 21st, 2014 by Websitepulse in WebSitePulse News, Tech

DNSToday (Jan 21, 2014) between 07:00 and 09:00 UTC mainland China was hit by a wave of network issues. A large number of both Chinese and international domains were reporting connection timeouts and were completely unaccessible. The cause for this was that for some reason a large number of domains were resolving to a single IP address - 65.49.2.178. The problem was reported as resolved in most places around 08:50. Due to the DNS caching infrastructure however a lot of users will still be affected until the cached bogus records expire. Users were suggested to use alternative DNS servers like Google's 8.8.8.8. We strongly recommend if you are using a DNS caching server in China to flush it as soon as possible to avoid DNS issues

The news sources in China first blamed it on a DNS poisoning of the root and the gTLD DNS servers. This however is not the case since the networks outside mainland China were not affected at all. Our investigation showed DNS responses from authoritative name servers coming with bogus data when queried from our servers in Beijing, Shangai and Guangzhou.

For example our first notice of the issue was when we requested the A record of static.bbci.co.uk. from ns1.thdow.bbc.co.uk (212.58.240.163), which is one of the authoritative DNS serves for bbc.co.uk, the response was

static.bbci.co.uk.      37621     IN      A 65.49.2.178

instead of  the correct record which is

static.bbci.co.uk.      900     IN      CNAME   static-bbci.bbc.net.uk.

This suggests that the response packet was modified in transit and the most likely culprit is the Golden Shield Project (also known as The Great Firewall of China). A possible reason for the misshap is that instead of blocking the 65.49.2.178 IP address all DNS queries were redirected to this IP. Ironically they actually succeeded blocking the IP by creating a massive DDOS attack from all Chinese users who were making connections to this address while trying to access different sites.

The offending IP 65.49.2.178 has an interesting story itself but I'll just put a few pointers
 - It is owned by Sophidea, Inc. registered on the address 2710 Thomes Ave Suite 884, Cheyenne, WY, 82001, US. Reuters ran a special story about this address a few years ago (www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/28/us-usa-shell-companies-idUSTRE75R20Z20110628)
 - While there is scant information regarding Sophidea, Inc I can see that they are providing hosting services to a large number of companies and the IPs from this range were frequently reported for spam
 - Hosted on the same network range is ultrasurf.us which was created to provide means to bypass the China Firewall and provide anonymous Internet access. Ultrareach Corp - the company which owns UltraSurf is registered on the same postal address in Wyoming above. There was some discussion of the actual value of the services provided by UltraSurf  (blog.torproject.org/blog/ultrasurf-definitive-review) but still their service might have something to do with the Chinese goverment wanting to restrict access to this netblock

 Update Jan 22, 2014

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