THREAT REMOVAL

Block Washingtonpost.com Referral Spam in Google Analytics

Washingpost.com in your referral traffic in Google Analytics is highly likely an indication of referral spam. More specifically, this campaign is quite similar to the Vitaly spam campaigns that have been quite active lately. The Russian spammer has been on a rampage, using legitimate or legitimate-looking domain names to affect GA data:

  • motherboard.vice.com
  • lifehacĸer.com
  • reddit.com
  • abc.xyz
  • thenextweb.com
  • addons.mozilla.org.

If you see an unusual amount of referral traffic coming from these websites, carefully read the article to learn how to block it. Referral spam may not be malicious but it leads to GA data devaluation and may be harmful in the long-term.

Is Washingpost.com Referral Spam Harmful?

As already mentioned, this type of spam is not directly harmful to a website but it can devaluate GA data. The traffic from referral spam can disturb nearly any data in GA reports. Furthermore, you may not be able to assess your website’s actual bounce rate. For the rate to be accurate you will need to filter the spam traffic out. Continue reading to learn how to block it permanently.

Carlos Escalera from Ohow.com has summarized the characteristics of the washingtonpost.com referral spam:

  • Hostname used: nypost.com may show other fake hostnames and sometimes your domain
  • Bounce Rate: either close to 0 or 100%
  • Avg. Session time: close to 0 s
  • Landing page: /
  • Location/Country: Mainly from Samara, Russia
  • Page title: from Vitaly
  • Language spam: Congratulations to Trump and all americans

More about Ghost Referral

Also known as ghost referral, the name of this spam suggests that the spamming software related to it aims to crawl a website and stay on it for longer periods of time undetected. The nickname “ghost” comes from the fact that most spamming software of such type uses the free HTTP protocols to connect remotely to the targeted website and spam “from a distance” without even being directly connected and present on the site as a bot/user. This spam may quickly render the statistics on a website it attacks useless, making research from those statistics, practically impossible, changing popular posts and other information. It can even target separate parts of the GA information of a website.

Block Washingpost.com Referral Spam in Google Analytics

1: Filtering in Google Analytics

Step 1: Click on the ‘Admin’ tab on your GA web page.

Step 2: Choose which ‘View’ is to be filtered and then click the ‘Filters’ button.

Step 3: Click on ‘New Filter’.

Step 4: Write a name, such as ‘Spam Referrals’.

Step 5: On Filter Type choose Custom Filter –>Exclude Filter –> Field: Campaign Source–> Filter Pattern. Then on the Pattern, enter the domain name –

Step 6: Select Views to Apply Filter.

Step 7: Save the filter, by clicking on the ‘Save’ button.

Backup Solution

Since the domain blocking may not work, because the spam may use different hosts every time, same strategy may be used to block the referral spam via the keyword “vitaly rules Google ☆*:.。.゚゚・*ヽ(^ᴗ^)丿*・゚゚.。.:*☆ ¯\_(ツ)_/¯(•ิ_•ิ)(ಠ益ಠ)(ಥ‿ಥ)(ʘ‿ʘ)ლ(ಠ_ಠლ)( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)ヽ(゚д゚)ノʕ•̫͡•ʔᶘ ᵒᴥᵒᶅ(=^. .^=)oo like the picture below displays:

You are done! Congratulations!

Also, make sure you check out these several methods to help you further block out this referrer spam from Google Analytics:

More Methods To Stop Spam Bots and Spiders In Google Analytics

2: Block from Your Server.

In case you have a server that is Apache HTTP Server, you may want to try the following commands to block domains in the .htaccess file. Here is which domains we discovered so far and the commands to block them:

RewriteEngine on

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*Youtube-2-MP3 \.org/ [NC,OR]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*darodar \-for\-website\.com/ [NC,OR]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*get-free-traffic-now \.com/ [NC,OR]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*darodar \.com/ [NC,OR]

RewriteRule ^(.*)$ – [F,L]

Also here is a web link to some spam URLs being blacklisted from other servers:

Ultimate Referrer Blacklist by Perishablepress.com

Disclaimer: This type of domain blocking in Apache servers has not yet been tested and it should be done by experienced professionals. Backup is always recommended.

3: Stop via WordPress.

There is a method outlined by security researchers online that uses WordPress plugins to block referrer spams from sites. There are many plugins that help deal with referrer spam, simply do a google search. We have currently seen one particular plugin reported to work, called WP-Ban, but bear in mind that you may find an equally good or better. WP-Ban has the ability to block users based on their IP address and other information such as the URL, for example.

Also, in case you feel like you may have clicked and been redirected to one of the domains mentioned in the spam message, and you believe your system may be compromised, you should scan your computer with a particular anti-malware tool. Downloading such software will also make sure your computer is safe against any future intrusions as well.

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Spy Hunter scanner will only detect the threat. If you want the threat to be automatically removed, you need to purchase the full version of the anti-malware tool.Find Out More About SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool / How to Uninstall SpyHunter

Milena Dimitrova

Milena Dimitrova

An inspired writer and content manager who has been with SensorsTechForum since the beginning. Focused on user privacy and malware development, she strongly believes in a world where cybersecurity plays a central role. If common sense makes no sense, she will be there to take notes. Those notes may later turn into articles! Follow Milena @Milenyim

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