I visited Edinburgh on Saturday for a friend's house-warming BBQ. Much fun was had by all and Edinburgh was really jumping as it was the first weekend of the Festival. Saw a whole bunch of old friends, drank copius amounts as the licensing laws are all extended by two hours during the Festival and generally had a whale of a time.
Got back to Durham via the train - first class all the way - bizarrely this was the cheapest ticket available, and it was cheap!!! Checked my e-mail and saw a message from someone I'd never heard of, with no subject and with a small attachment. Instant virus warning bells are sounding. I don't usually have any issues with e-mail viruses with the account as they're usually aimed at Outlook or Hotmail users, and I had a feeling it might actually be something that wasn't spam.
Turned out I was right. Remember the post about I, Robot where I had 2 pictures of robot designs? Well, I found them by doing a Google Image search and had linked directly to the webpages rather than downloading them to my webspace. The e-mail was to politely inform me that this was "bandwidth theft" and he'd changed the filename so the link wouldn't work. Who knew? I'm a thief!
I guess I'd never really thought about it, but it has served as a warning. I'm not sure to what extent bandwidth theft can be prosecuted and punished - if at all. Are there any laws about this? Can you be blacklisted by a server company or sthg? My little site isn't going to swamp anyone with traffic, but there is potential for exploitation. A lot of sites get closed because they get too popular and the server company starts charging for the bandwidth usage, which is a shame, as it's usually not malicious. So I guess you could do the same by perpetually accessing a link.. wouldn't be hard to do.