I received a report via e-mail. 404 errors.
A lot of 404 errors.
What’s a 404 error? Chances are you’ve seen one. You may not realize what it is, though. What a 404 error means is that the page you’re looking for can’t be found. Doesn’t exist. It’s that simple.
Or, it could be that a file is missing. I thought I’d caught all of those in my stylesheet, for instance, but it did call for a graphics file that didn’t exist. But I’d made a change to the stylesheet over the weekend, but then rolled it back. Maybe I’d messed something up.
At least, that’s what I thought.
But… I couldn’t understand why I’d suddenly have so many 404 errors. And that meant pulling the server log — which no one in their right mind ever wants to do — and dig through it by hand.
I found my answer.
It was a spammer.
Specifically, there was a spammer who was trying to hijack my server. He was hoping I had an unsecured Perl e-mail application running.
To give you an idea of how stupid the spammer was, he tried four different directories. None of which exist on my server.
And he ran hundreds of queries, attempting to access Perl scripts that didn’t exist.
Of course he got 404 errors.
And you can tell it’s automated — a real person would have realized, quite quickly, that there was nothing along the lines of what he was looking for.
Just stupid, when you come right down to it.