Destructive Spidering

Reading The Spider of Doom on The Daily WTF reminded me of a similar story with Ultraseek from years ago, though ours had a happier ending.

Back in 1998 or 1999, we got a call from a customer asking if it was possible that the spider could delete pages from Lotus Domino. 10,000 pages had disappeared overnight, and the only thing they could think of was the evaluation copy of Ultraseek. After looking at the access logs, we figured out that they had a link to “delete this page” on every page. Also, they’d logged the spider in as Admin so that it could access everything. Oops!

I said there was a happy ending? They restored everything from backups, figured out that a link (GET) was a bad idea and changed it to a button (POST), and they bought Ultraseek because they knew that it could access every single page. On our end, we added a rule to never, ever follow that link on Lotus Domino. We all solved our problems and learned something, too.

1 thought on “Destructive Spidering

  1. I like the Spider of Doom’s victim’s authentication logic:
    – Is cookie present signifying that the user is not logged in?
    – If No: User is authenticated!
    – If Yes: Run Javascript function to authenticate user.
    – If Javascript fails: User is authenticated!


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