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// Tales from software development

Archive for July 2008

FTP attack

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A few weeks ago I noticed that someone had been attempting to login to the FTP server running on one of my servers. When I looked at the FTP log I realised it must have been a script executing an attack because the login activity consisted of around 2300 login attempts within about 26 minutes. The log showed that the attacker was trying to login to the Administrator account but didn’t show the passwords that were being tried.

A reverse DNS lookup of the attacker’s IP address indicated an ISP in Poland. When I checked back further through the FTP logs I found another two similar attacks in the preceding weeks. These also appeared to originate in Poland.

It doesn’t take much effort to work out that the attack is not intended to gain access to the FTP server as such – it’s more likely that it’s a means to discover the password for the Administrator account on the computer.

I was curious about the passwords that were being used in the attack, and I also wondered what the attacker would do next if they successfully logged in. My guess was that if the attacker successfully logged in they would probably break off the attack but then attempt to compromise the computer using the Administrator account in some other way rather than via the FTP server. So, I decided to write a basic FTP server that I could use to investigate what the attacker was doing and what they’d do if they successfully logged in.

The first advantage of this approach is that I could implement a credential validation mechanism that is independent of Windows Security. So, even if the attacker did successfully login to the Administrator account on the FTP server, it wouldn’t be the real Administrator account on the computer. Obviously, you’d use a different password for the FTP server. Another advantage is that I could log all the activity in greater detail that the Microsoft FTP logs provide.

It took a couple of days to write a basic mult-threaded FTP server and I started running it at the beginning of July on the computer that had previously been attacked. Then I waited for another attack…

It came after three weeks. This time the attacker was in Korea but the attack was identical to the previous attacks. This was useful to know as it means that the attack is probably the same script and is being copied between hackers.

The start of the FTP server’s log shows the startup of the server on 1 July and the beginning of the attack on the 22 July:

2008-07-01 12:51:34 Server starting...
2008-07-01 12:51:34 Server is listening on 192.168.0.254 port 21
2008-07-01 12:51:34 Waiting for a connection request...

2008-07-22 11:26:17 Connection request received.
2008-07-22 11:26:18 Waiting for a connection request...
2008-07-22 11:26:18 [000002] Control connection created 192.168.0.254:21 <--> 211.253.236.149:9680
2008-07-22 11:26:18 [000002] SENT: 220 FTP Service
2008-07-22 11:26:18 [000002] RCVD: USER Administrator
2008-07-22 11:26:18 [000002] SENT: 331 Password required for Administrator.
2008-07-22 11:26:19 [000002] RCVD: PASS
2008-07-22 11:26:19 [000002] SENT: 530 User Administrator cannot log in.
2008-07-22 11:26:19 [000002] RCVD: USER Administrator
2008-07-22 11:26:19 [000002] SENT: 331 Password required for Administrator.
2008-07-22 11:26:20 [000002] RCVD: PASS abc123
2008-07-22 11:26:20 [000002] SENT: 530 User Administrator cannot log in.
2008-07-22 11:26:21 [000002] RCVD: USER Administrator
2008-07-22 11:26:21 [000002] SENT: 331 Password required for Administrator.
2008-07-22 11:26:21 [000002] RCVD: PASS password
2008-07-22 11:26:21 [000002] SENT: 530 User Administrator cannot log in.
2008-07-22 11:26:21 [000002] RCVD: USER Administrator
2008-07-22 11:26:21 [000002] SENT: 331 Password required for Administrator.
2008-07-22 11:26:22 [000002] RCVD: PASS passwd
2008-07-22 11:26:22 [000002] SENT: 530 User Administrator cannot log in.
2008-07-22 11:26:22 [000002] RCVD: USER Administrator
2008-07-22 11:26:22 [000002] SENT: 331 Password required for Administrator.
2008-07-22 11:26:22 [000002] RCVD: PASS 123456
2008-07-22 11:26:22 [000002] SENT: 530 User Administrator cannot log in.
2008-07-22 11:26:23 [000002] RCVD: USER Administrator
2008-07-22 11:26:23 [000002] SENT: 331 Password required for Administrator.
2008-07-22 11:26:23 [000002] RCVD: PASS newpass
2008-07-22 11:26:23 [000002] SENT: 530 User Administrator cannot log in.
2008-07-22 11:26:23 [000002] RCVD: USER Administrator
2008-07-22 11:26:23 [000002] SENT: 331 Password required for Administrator.
2008-07-22 11:26:24 [000002] RCVD: PASS notused

As with the previous attacks, this attack consisted of 2283 login attempts in 25 minutes.

I thought it’d be useful to do a little bit of analysis on the passwords being used. I’ve included them at the end of this posting. If nothing else, they’re a good source of passwords that you shouldn’t use. However, it’s depressing to think that this list of obviously weak passwords must effective enough for would be hackers to get results.

Scanning through the list it became obvious that there are several blocks of alphanumerically ordered passwords, although the first block appears to be a randomly ordered list of ‘best guess’ passwords. This first section starts with a blank password followed by 45 passwords starting with ‘abc123’ and ending with ‘mickey’. Then the first of the alphanumerically ordered blocks starts with ‘0246’ and ends with ‘Robert’. This is followed by another 38 alphanumericaly ordered blocks.

It appears that the list of 2283 passwords is a conglomeration of password lists that someone has collated. It could be argued that this is a fairly low grade list of potential passwords but, as noted above, presumably someone is having some success with it.

The next step will be to let the attacker gain access to the FTP server’s Administrator account to see what they do with it.

Meanwhile, here’s the list of passwords that were used in the attack:

(blank)
abc123
password
passwd
123456
newpass
notused
Hockey
internet
asshole
Maddock
12345678
newuser
computer
Internet
Mickey
qwerty
fiction
Cowboys
Jordan
Hatton
test
Michael
ou812
orange
1234
Beavis
123
tigger
Soccer
shadow
Purple
Sports
dragon
michael
wheeling
mustang
Monkey
Qwerty
School
Snoopy
Vikings
jennifer
money
Justin
mickey
0246
a1b2c3
chris
david
foobar
Robert
buster
harley
jordan
stupid
*
apple
fred
123abc
Amanda
Dakota
summer
sunshine
andrew
hello
maggie
monday
pascal
patrick
Dallas
Jessica
Nicole
Sendit
Smokey
baseball
daniel
diamond
joshua
michelle
mike
silver
1q2w3e
Friends
George
Shadow
Summer
bandit
coffee
falcon
fuckyou
pepper
richard
thomas
undead
!@#$%
Andrew
Buster
Cowboy
Eagles
Elwood
Master
Nathan
changeme
charlie
golf
green
linda
merlin
monkey
nite
secret
soccer
steve
1234567
Apples
Dragon
Flower
Mustang
Pepper
george
guest
hockey
james
koko
matthew
pookie
robert
xxx
Dolphin
Killer
Miller
Packers
Tigger
alex
canada
john
master
Chicago
Kitten
Polaris
Spanky
Tennis
Thomas
Tweety
hammer
letmein
magic
murphy
scooter
service
snoopy
sophie
thx1138
tiger
Ashley
Basket
Ginger
Nirvana
Teacher
Yellow
blue
dave
hunter
sarah
thursday
welcome
Bandit
Volley
aaaaaa
ashley
bear
boomer
calvin
dallas
friday
happy
jason
madison
martin
mother
nicole
purple
ranger
123go
Airhead
Braves
Sparky
angela
brandy
cindy
dakota
donald
football
ncc1701
shannon
soleil
taylor
tuesday
Abcdef
August
Footbal
Heather
Johnson
Maggie
Matthew
Michelle
Monday
Pookie
Rabbit
Richard
Smiley
amanda
anthony
camaro
carmen
cowboy
genesis
jesus
joseph
justin
miller
ncc1701d
pamela
picture
princess
rabbit
rocket
sierra
steven
success
tennis
victoria
willow
Abcdefg
Bubba
Charlie
Compute
Computer
Fuckyou
Hammer
Jeremy
Library
Password
Runner
Scooter
Shorty
Silver
Taylor
Tigers
Travis
Viper
digital
duke
freedom
gandalf
ginger
heather
iloveyou
jessica
killer
lizard
loser
mark
monica
oscar
peanut
pentium
peter
phoenix
piglet
rainbow
runner
sam
saturn
scott
skippy
startrek
temp
111111
123123
2welcome
Basebal
Batman
Brandy
Cassie
Dustin
Fishing
Harley
Hunter
Orlando
Peaches
Scotty
Steven
Voyager
andrea
ass
avalon
batman
brandon
bubba
casey
eagle
frog1
fuckme
info
love
marie
misty
natasha
newyork
nss
poohbear
rachel
turtle
walter
wizard
00000000
Daniel
Friday
Hornets
Joshua
Online
Rodman
Science
andy
asdf
august
austin
beavis
brenda
brian
butthead
charles
cheese
doctor
dolphin
flower
jonathan
junior
knight
marley
maverick
molson
morgan
mouse
nathan
nissan
rebecca
shalom
smile
sparky
stephen
whatever
william
696969
Anthony
Casper
Helpme
Jessie
Mother
Pebbles
Pentium
Secret
Sonics
Viking
Wolves
access
alpha
angel
ath
banane
bob
bond007
booger
boris
chicken
cookie
elephant
elvis
emily
eric
france
gizmo
goober
horses
island
jeffrey
jerry
joe
jupiter
justice
lisa
lucky
mindy
missy
muffin
music
protel
rose
sandy
sharon
snake
spider
spring
test1
tommy
toyota
vincent
wqsb
7777
8675309
Barney
Bowling
Camaro
Casio
Cookie
Froggy
Golfer
Junior
Knights
Lakers
Melissa
Patrick
Rachel
Raiders
Reggie
Shelly
Shithead
Speedy
Thunder
Windows
albert
alexande
america7
banana
barbara
barney
billy
biteme
black
chelsea
claire
connie
debbie
delta
dennis
eeyore
fishing
fucker
helpme
honda
indiana
jackson
jasmine
karen
kevin
lestat
logan
louis
louise
micro
mitchell
nirvana
none
paul
pepsi
perry
phantom
pierre
rascal
red
reddog
roger
sanjose1
simon
star
superman
tom
topgun
wilson
654321
Aikman
Animal
Avatar
Basketb
Gandalf
Hacker
Hendrix
Hunting
Iceman
Leslie
Letmein
Scooby
Snicker
System
Tazman
Tootsie
Turtle
abcd1234
adg
amber
anna
annie
arthur
benjamin
bill
boston
braves
buddy
cgj
control
coyote
daisy
dog
dorothy
douglas
edward
faith
family
fish
fisher
ford
freak1
friend
grant
iceman
jack
jeremy
jim
library
marcel
molly
mountain
nat
nicarao
olivia
pat
pearljam
pmc
ppp
prince
ryan
salmon
school
skeeter
special
spencer
stinky
sunflowe
teacher
test123
tony
travel
viper
wally
winston
winter
wolf
yellow
zephyr
ziggy
!@#$%^
1928
2112
90210
Arthur
Biteme
Blackie
Boomer
Bubbles
Carrie
Charles
Denise
Fender
Fluffy
Fucker
Fuckme
Golfing
Intel
Jasmine
Joseph
Knight
Lindsey
Loser
Orange
Peanut
People
Porsche
Rebecca
Rhonda
Sanders
Speech
Tanner
Teresa
Turbo
Volleyb
Wrestle
alaska
apples
asdfgh
bigdog
boss
casper
cat
chapman
chocolat
christin
classroo
cocacola
coke
cougar
cricket
crystal
danny
david1
dean
disney
einstein
elizabet
felix
fox
frank
giants
grace
gregory
hannah
hendrix
hola
howard
jake
janice
jesus1
julian
kelsey
kitten12
lacrosse
lakers
larry
leslie
marina
matt
melissa
millie
montana
moose
morris
orion
pantera
paris
piano
pizza
please
popcorn
q1w2e3
radio
sales
sammy
shelly
shithead
stanley
steelers
stimpy
student
susan
sydney
tammy
testtest
texas
thunder
tweety
victory
virginia
willie
willy
win95
zapata
1
Alaska
Alicia
Bailey
Banana
Beaner
Bigdog
Blazer
Blondie
Brandon
Center
Cheese
Chicken
Chris
Compaq
Dreams
Falcon
Family
Fisher
Flyers
Friend
FuckYou
Global
Gopher
Guitar
Gymnast
Hearts
Huskers
Kinder
Larson
Lestat
Lindsay
Minnie
Muffin
Pamela
Panther
Picard
Pyramid
Raider
Rainbow
Reddog
Sampler
Shannon
Shotgun
Sierra
Skeeter
Spanish
Stacey
Student
Trixie
Xanadu
Yankees
Zombie
a12345
a1b2c3d4
abc
adidas
alexis
angie
april
asdfjkl;
baby
betty
bilbo
bonnie
booboo
bradley
brooke
caitlin
carrie
chip
chris1
christy
cinder
claude
claudia
colorado
cowboys
curtis
daytek
donna
duck
dusty
eagle1
enigma
francis
francois
franklin
froggy
gabriel
ghost
gopher
grover
happy1
helen
henry
honey
horse
house
jackie
jean
jenny
joey
kelly
laura
lauren
lincoln
loveme
margaret
mary
max
mercedes
mercury
michel
midnight
mine
mirror
mozart
nicholas
nothing
oliver
packard
pass
peace
phil
porsche
psycho
pumpkin
punkin
puppy123
randy
remember
robin
rosebud
sadie
sampson
samson
samuel
simple
smiley
snowball
spike
starwars
stever
storm
sun
support
suzanne
sweetie
sweetpea
system
tamara
tech
teresa
terry
theresa
thumper
victor
vision
water
winner
xavier
yamaha
121212
ABC123
America
Arctic
Austin
Bonnie
Cheryl
Dorothy
Drizzt
Emmitt
Farmer
Flipper
Goldie
Goober
Griffey
Groovy
Hotdog
Jackson
Jeffrey
Jester
Jimbo
Johnny
Kristi
Lauren
Lizard
Louise
Lover
Montana
Murphy
NCC1701
PPP
Pacers
Packer
Patches
Peter
RedDog
Reebok
Rosebud
Sango
Shadows
Sharon
Skippy
Stanley
Startrek
Sunshin
Swimmer
TEACHERS
Tinman
Wildcat
William
Willie
Wilson
Yamaha
aaron
abigail
alice
allen
amour
animal
archie
bailey
basf
basketba
beaver
bingo
blazer
blonde
bullshit
business
caroline
cfj
chicago
clancy
class
cloclo
colleen
columbia
connect
country
demo
dixie
domino
donkey
dreamer
e
eagles
eddie
farmer
fgh
fire
flipper
flowers
floyd
fluffy
freddy
friends
frodo
frog
garden
global
golfer
grumpy
hansolo
hawk
health
heidi
help
holly
hoops
iguana
indigo
italia
jane
jasper
jessie
jewels
johnny
joker
judith
katherin
kids
kingfish
kristi
laurie
legend
lindsay
london
loveyou
lucy
mac
marc
marilyn
market
marlboro
marty
maryjane
matrix
maxwell
nancy
nascar
nelson
network
newcourt
newton
packers
panther
papa
parker
patricia
penguin
pickle
porsche9
rain
raven
robbie
robert1
rocky
roses
sabrina
sailing
sandra
science
scotty
seven
shoes
smiles
smokey
snickers
speedy
spooky
stephani
strat
stuart
sunny
sunset
telecom
temporal
tigers
time
tinker
tomcat
trebor
tristan
truck
video
viper1
visa
volvo
warren
weasel
webmaste
white
woody
xanadu
zaphod
!@#$%^&*
007
1022
13579
4444
666666
6969
Adidas
Asdfgh
Asshole
Awesome
Biology
Bond007
Booboo
Bradley
Buffalo
Calvin
Canada
Celtics
Chester
Colleen
Connie
Cooper
Cracker
Digital
Disney
Doobie
Dream
Dwight
Eatme
Farming
Florida
Flowers
Gizmo
Goalie
Golden
Gunner
Harvey
Homer
Jasper
Kristy
Krystal
Laser
Maddog
Marino
Marvin
Natasha
Nelson
October
Parker
Passwor
Petunia
Prince
Pumpkin
Qwert
Ranger
Sammie
Senior
Shirley
Slayer
Spunky
Tandy
Trouble
Vette
Warren
Wheels
Winter
Zxcvbnm
_
absolut
adam
adrian
alexandr
allo
alpine
anderson
athena
badger
beagle
beatles
belle
bitch
bluebird
bonjour
bulldog
bunny
californ
captain
carol
carole
cedic
chanel
chester1
chloe
coco
coltrane
compaq
compton
cooper
corona
cyclone
dancer
darwin
dawn
denise
derek
diablo
digital1
direct1
dodger
doogie
dookie
doom
dragon1
dreams
duckie
dylan
ellen
export
ferrari
ferret
firebird
forest
fuckoff
garfield
gateway
gold
goofy
grateful
guitar
gunner
heart
herbert
herman
hermes
history
houston
inside
ironman
isis
italy
jasmin
jeanne
julie
kathleen
keith
kermit
kimberly
king
koala
kristen
kristin
laser
leonard
lionking
macha
macintos
maddog
major
maxime
melanie
mexico
mikey
monet
monique
moon
mouse1
napoleon
ne1469
nellie
niners
olive
one
online
oxford
pacific
painter
panda
pandora
peaches
peewee
penelope
picasso
plato
pluto
police
popeye
portland
power
random
raymond
reality
renee
royal
running
salut
samantha
santa
sassy
scarlet
scorpio
scout
sergei
seven7
sexy
shark
sheba
sheena
sheila
shelby
simba
singer
skiing
snow
spanky
stargate
steele
stella
sunday
sunrise
sylvia
tara
tasha
techno
timothy
toby
today
training
trouble
tyler
unicorn
violet
walker
wayne
wendy
whisky
windsurf
winnie
wolves
xfiles
zebra
zxcvbnm
000000
007007
10sne1
1313
131313
1701d
1a2b3c
4runner
54321
Aaaaaa
Amiga
Angela
Animals
Archie
Badboy
Balls
Beaver
BigBird
Boner
Booger
Boston
Brandi
Brazil
Brenda
Button
COWBOY
Carol
Chiefs
Chipper
Chrissy
Coffee
Cougar
Country
Curtis
DRAGON
Dennis
Digger
Doctor
Firebird
Frankie
Gambit
Gemini
German
Giants
Grandma
Grover
Hanson
Hawkeye
Heidi
Hobbit
Hotrod
Howard
Iguana
Ironman
JSBach
Jackie
January
Jennifer
Joker
Lakota
Looney
Malibu
Masters
Michell
Mikey
Monster
OU812
Oliver
Paladin
Phillip
Pickle
Please
Psycho
Puppies
Racing
Rasta
Reality
Renee
Rosie
Russell
Skiing
Snowbal
Spider
Spring
Squirt
Studly
Stupid
Surfer
Sweets
Sydney
Tester
Thumper
Timothy
Violet
Walleye
Webster
Wizard
Zaphod
Zorro
Zxcvb
aaa
abcde
abcdefg
acura
alex1
allison
amy
anne
apache
apollo
apollo13
ariel
artist
asdfg
asdfjkl
attila
babylon5
bamboo
basket
beaner
bears
beer
benny
bernard
bertha
bigbird
bigred
bird33
birdie
blizzard
bluesky
bobby
bootsie
brewster
bright
bruce
brutus
bubba1
bubbles
buck
buffalo
butler
buzz
byteme
cactus
camera
candy
canon
cassie
catalog
cats
celica
celine
cfi
challeng
champion
cheryl
chico
christia
chuck
clark
college
conrad
cool
copper
courtney
craig
crapp
crawford
creative
crow
cruise
dance
danielle
darren
database
deadhead
december
deedee
deliver
detroit
dilbert
doc
dogbert
dominic
elsie
enter
entropy
etoile
europe
explorer
fireman
fish1
flamingo
flash
fletcher
flip
foxtrot
french1
gabriell
gaby
galaxy
galileo
garlic
gasman
gator
gemini
general
gerald
gilles
go
goforit
golden
gone
graymail
greenday
greg
gretzky
hacker
hal9000
harold
harrison
harry
harvey
hector
hell
home
homer
hootie
hotdog
ib6ub9
icecream
idiot
imagine
indian
insane
intern
ireland
irish
isabelle
jacob
jaguar
jason1
jenifer
jenni
jenny1
jensen
john316
judy
julie1
kelly1
kennedy
kevin1
kim
knicks
lady
lee
leon
lindsey
ljf
logical
lucky1
lynn
majordom
mariah
marine
mario
mariposa
martin1
math
maurice
me
memphis
metal
michael.
michele
minnie
mirage
mitch
modem
mom
moocow
ncc1701e
nebraska
nemesis
netware
news
nguyen
number9
open
opus
patches
penny
pete
petey
phish
photo
pierce
pomme
porter
psalms
puppy
pyramid
python
quality
qwaszx
qwert
raiders
raquel
robotech
ronald
rosie
russell
ruy
savage
scotch
scruffy
sean
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!@#$%^&
0007
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99999999
@#$%^&
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whitney
wolfMan
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wonder
wright
xxxx
yoda
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young
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zhongguo

 

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Written by Sea Monkey

July 27, 2008 at 9:00 pm

Posted in Security

Tagged with

"The format did not complete successfully"

with one comment

As described in previous posts, Where are we now, or, what can you get for £99 ? and Adaptec RAID 1220SA card, I recently bought a server and wanted to install a RAID Contoller in it. I gave up on the 1220SA card as described in the post mentioned above and have been trying to get hold of the new Adaptec 2405 RAID Controller card for the past two months. It finally arrived on Friday last week. On Saturday morning I installed it in the server, attached a couple of 1Tb drives, and set them up in a RAID 1 configuration. I started Windows and then formatted the array using Windows Explorer. I decided to do a full format which ran for about 20 hours. At the end of formatting, this message was displayed:

“The format did not complete successfully”

No other details were available and nothing showed up in the event log. I tried running the command a few more times using the Quick Format option. Then I tried dropping the drive assignment and reassigning a new drive letter and running the format again. That didn’t work. I tried a few other things – I restarted the machine, I tried running the format from the Administrator Tools Disk Management Console, but the result was always the same.

The lack of more detailed error information was frustrating. I tried running the format command in a command window:

C:\Users\Administrator>format d: /fs:ntfs /q
The type of the file system is RAW.
The new file system is NTFS.
WARNING, ALL DATA ON NON-REMOVABLE DISK
DRIVE D: WILL BE LOST!
Proceed with Format (Y/N)? y
QuickFormatting 953866M
Volume label (32 characters, ENTER for none)?
Creating file system structures.
The second NTFS boot sector is unwriteable.
The first NTFS boot sector is unwriteable.
All NTFS boot sectors are unwriteable.  Cannot continue.
Format failed.

Finally, some useful information! It still wasn’t clear what the problem was but at least I could search for ‘boot sector is unwriteable’, etc., for a hint as to what the problem was. Most of the hits returned from this search suggested recreating the partition and using the command line tools to do this and to format the drive.

I ran the diskpart command and deleted the existing partition, created a new one, and formatted it:

C:\Users\Administrator>diskpart
DISKPART> list disk
  Disk ###  Status      Size     Free     Dyn  Gpt
  --------  ----------  -------  -------  ---  ---
  Disk 0    Online       149 GB      0 B
  Disk 1    Online       931 GB      0 B
DISKPART> select disk 1
Disk 1 is now the selected disk.
DISKPART> list partition
  Partition ###  Type              Size     Offset
  -------------  ----------------  -------  -------
  Partition 1    Primary            932 GB  1024 KB
DISKPART> select partition 1
Partition 1 is now the selected partition.
DISKPART> delete partition
DiskPart successfully deleted the selected partition.
DISKPART> list partition
There are no partitions on this disk to show.
DISKPART> create partition primary
DiskPart succeeded in creating the specified partition.
DISKPART> list partition
  Partition ###  Type              Size     Offset
  -------------  ----------------  -------  -------
* Partition 1    Primary            931 GB  1024 KB
DISKPART> format fs=ntfs quick label="Data"
  100 percent completed
DiskPart successfully formatted the volume.
DISKPART> list part
  Partition ###  Type              Size     Offset
  -------------  ----------------  -------  -------
* Partition 1    Primary            931 GB  1024 KB
DISKPART> exit
Leaving DiskPart...
C:\Users\Administrator>

I restarted Windows and confirmed that the drive was formatted and usable. It’s still not clear to me why the drive couldn’t be formatted using the Windows Explorer format command or the Disk Management command.

Written by Sea Monkey

July 20, 2008 at 9:00 pm

Posted in Environments, Hardware

Tagged with ,

Amazon and LOVEFiLM

leave a comment »

Amazon has just announced that its sell-off of its UK DVD rental business to LOVEFiLM is now complete.

Five years ago I signed up with DVDs-On-Tap which later rebranded itself as LOVEFiLM. After suffering an indifferent service and too many DVDs being delivered so badly scratched that my DVD player would often not even recognise them as DVDs, I cancelled my subscription and joined Amazon UK’s DVD Rental scheme.

I cancelled my LOVEFiLM subscription using its website but soon after I did this it removed the option to do this from the website and cancellations could then only be made by phone call. Maybe LOVEFiLM thought it would be easier to retain customers by making it harder for them to cancel rather than fix what was wrong with its service. Other LOVEFiLM subscribers that I knew cancelled in the following months and soon I didn’t know anyone who used its service.

Amazon’s service, by comparison, was superb and I didn’t have a single complaint in the three years that I used the service.

Earlier this year my wife told me that LOVEFiLM had bought Amazon’s DVD Rental business. I told her that she must have got it wrong. Surely it was Amazon taking over the lacklustre and possibly ailing LOVEFiLM ? Sadly, she was right. Presumably, the deal was done because Amazon decided that it was not making enough revenue from rentals and LOVEFiLM was interested in increasing its market share.

There was absolutely no way that I’d go back to LOVEFiLM as a customer and so I ignored all the emails from Amazon instructing me how to migrate my rental account to LOVEFiLM. Then, one day, a rental DVD arrived from LOVEFiLM. I went to my account page at Amazon and found that there was no longer any information about my DVD Rentals. I checked my email and saw that Amazon had announced the completion of the transfer to LOVEFiLM. There were also several emails from LOVEFiLM welcoming me and encouraging me to login to my account on its website.

I wondered how Amazon had transferred the payment details for my account as surely it wasn’t legal for it to pass my bank details to another company ? I checked my bank account and found that Amazon was still debiting the account using a reference indicating that it was on behalf of LOVEFiLM.

I sent an email to Amazon making it clear that I wanted nothing to do with LOVEFiLM, that it was Amazon’s responsibility to cancel whatever arrangements it had made to transfer my account to LOVEFiLM, and that I considered any further debits to my account to be unauthorised. Amazon’s response was:

Subject: Your Amazon.co.uk DVD Rental by Post Enquiry
   From: "Amazon.co.uk Customer Services" <cust.serv03@amazon.co.uk>
   Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2008 10:41:17 -0700 (PDT)
     To: "seamonkey@..."
 
Dear Mr C Monkey
Thank you for contacting Amazon.co.uk DVD Rentals by Post.
Amazon.co.uk DVD rentals has now moved to LOVEFiLM and as part of this move, your existing rental list was transferred. You can access your rental list and manage your rental account only on the LOVEFiLM website.
In order to view your rental list and other information regarding your DVD rental service, we would ask that you visit the LOVEFiLM website directly:
https://www.lovefilm.com/amzn?page=/visitor/login_migrated.html
For any further questions or cancellation in relation to your DVD rentals account we would ask that you contact LOVEFiLM directly.
To contact LOVEFiLM, please visit their Web site at http://www.lovefilm.com/amzn, Email to support@lovefilm.com or call on 08444 820 123 (lines are open between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday to Friday and between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. at weekends).
If you have any further questions, please refer to our help pages:
 
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/customer/display.html?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200224550
Thank you for choosing Amazon.co.uk
Please let us know if this e-mail answered your question:
If yes, click here:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/rsvp-y?c=...
If not, click here:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/rsvp-n?c=...
Please note: this e-mail was sent from an address that cannot accept incoming e-mail.
To contact us about an unrelated issue, please visit the Help section of our website.
Warmest regards
Ram Gopal
Amazon.co.uk

Amazon ignored my specific request to cancel my account. Grudgingly, I conceded defeat and followed the link to access my migrated account on the LOVEFiLM website. It didn’t work. I got an error message saying that my email address was not valid.

I phoned LOVEFiLM and was told that the problem was that the my email address was not a valid address. Clearly this is nonsense. Not only is this an account that I’ve used since 1994, it’s the same account that I’ve used with Amazon for more than ten years, and it’s also the account that LOVEFiLM had sent its welcome emails to.

The LOVEFiLM representative that I spoke to told me that the email address was now valid and a temporary password was setup to allow me to login to my new LOVEFiLM account. I asked him to cancel the account which he did and then he advised me to login to the account to confirm my details and that the account was scheduled for cancellation. I thanked him and ended the call.

I went back to the LOVEFiLM web site and used the temporary password. This was accepted and I was presented with a page indicating that I had to accept LOVEFiLM’s terms and conditions to proceed to my account details. I gave up – why should I accept LOVEFiLM’s T&Cs when, as far as I’m concerned, I don’t have any business with the company ? I closed the browser and gave up.

I’m disappointed with the way that Amazon has dealt with the sell-off of its rental business. I understand that the deal it did with LOVEFiLM will have included the transfer of the subscriber accounts but, frankly, I object to being sold by Amazon to LOVEFiLM in this way. Even if I hadn’t previously had a poor customer experience with LOVEFiLM, I might have cancelled the account as a matter of principle. Amazon’s failure to respond adequately to my request to cancel the migrated account falls well below their normal level of customer service.

As for LOVEFiLM, sending emails to me and then telling that the email address is invalid, and encouraging me to login to my account when it wasn’t possible because of a technical issue with its website is no surprise. It just confirmed my belief that it’s a company worth avoiding.

Now I just need to find an alternative DVD rental service…

Written by Sea Monkey

July 1, 2008 at 7:00 pm

Posted in Comment

Tagged with