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Tue, Aug 05, 2008 10:15 pm

Turnitin Crawler

While troubleshooting a problem with a website using wireshark, I was capturing HTTP traffic. I noticed a connection from with the contents of the first packet received from that address showing the software accessing my support website identifying itself as shown below:

User-Agent: TurnitinBot/2.1 (

Checking the URL listed, I found the following:

Chances are that you are reading this because you found a reference to this web page from your web server logs. This reference was left by's web crawling robot, also known as TurnitinBot. This robot collects content from the Internet for the sole purpose of helping educational institutions prevent plagiarism. In particular, we compare student papers against the content we find on the Internet to see if we can find similarities. For more information on this service, please visit

The Wikipedia article on Turnitin states that it is as "an Internet-based plagiarism-detection service created by iParadigms, LLC. Institutions (typically universities and high schools) buy licenses to submit essays to the Turnitin website, which checks the document for plagiarism."

I had read that many schools now use such services to deter students from submitting plagiarized papers. I've seen services offerring pre-written papers for students to submit for classes, so I can see the need for teachers to use such detection services. I didn't realize this service crawled websites to index materials on the web as part of its detection efforts, but it makes sense to me that the service would do so. This is the first time I've noticed this particular web crawler

[/network/web/crawlers] permanent link

Tue, Aug 05, 2008 9:58 pm

Installing Wireshark

I wanted to install Ethereal on a CentOS Linux system to sniff network traffic to try to resolve a problem for a website. I have tcpdump on the system, but I wanted to have a GUI tool to make analyzing the packets a little easier for me.

I ran yum install ethereal, which installed wireshark and its dependency, libsmi. Wireshark was installed, because development of ethereal has stopped and the core development team is now developing wireshark.

The FAQ for wireshark offers the following explanation of the name change.

In May of 2006, Gerald Combs (the original author of Ethereal) went to work for CACE Technologies (best known for WinPcap). Unfortunately, he had to leave the Ethereal trademarks behind.

This left the project in an awkward position. The only reasonable way to ensure the continued success of the project was to change the name. This is how Wireshark was born.

Wireshark is almost (but not quite) a fork. Normally a "fork" of an open source project results in two names, web sites, development teams, support infrastructures, etc. This is the case with Wireshark except for one notable exception -- every member of the core development team is now working on Wireshark. There has been no active development on Ethereal since the name change. Several parts of the Ethereal web site (such as the mailing lists, source code repository, and build farm) have gone offline.

After the installation completed, I tried running wireshark by issuing the command wireshark.

# wireshark
bash: wireshark: command not found

I then discovered that installing the wireshark RPM only installs a command line program, tshark. The program was installed in /usr/sbin/tshark. You can obtain help on tshark using man tshark or tshark -h. There is also documentation installed in /usr/share/wireshark/help.

I had to install wireshark-gnome to get the GUI version, which I did with yum -y install wireshark-gnome. I could then start the GUI version from a shell prompt with wireshark or start it by clicking on Applications, Internet, and then Wireshark Network Analyzer.

Since I wanted to capture only HTTP traffic, I typed HTTP in the Filter field and then clicked on the Apply button. I then clicked on Capture, Interfaces, and clicked on the Start button next to the eth0 interface to start capturing all HTTP traffic.

[/network/tools/sniffing/wireshark] permanent link

Tue, Aug 05, 2008 7:35 am

Web Developer Extension for Firefox

The Web Developer extension for Firefox adds a menu and a toolbar to the browser with various web developer tools. It is designed for Firefox, Flock and Seamonkey, and will run on any platform that these browsers support including Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

You can install the extension by simply clicking on the link for it. When it is installed, you will be notified you should restart Firefox to complete your changes.

The extension provides the capability for one to easily view the headers or CSS information for a page, check for Section 508 compliance, display the dimentions of images on the page, and many other capabilities useful to web developers.

[ More Info ]

[/network/web/browser/firefox] permanent link

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