Feeds

Short URLs in spam skyrocket

The Twitter effect

Security for virtualized datacentres

Incidents of shortened URLs in spam messages have skyrocketed since the start of this week.

Email filtering service MessageLabs reports that more than 2.25 per cent of junk mail messages feature spamvertised links laundered through URL redirection services.

URL redirection services map between lengthy web addresses and shortened URLs. Such services are a vital adjunct to services such as Twitter, which restricts users to a 140 character message limit.

Spammers have begun using these URL shortening services because they help to disguise the true destination of promoted links, a factor which might go on to play a part in drive-by download malware attacks as well as already observed incidents of spam-promoted websites. URL redirection services require no registration, making their services more attractive for legitimate users and spammers alike.

"Donbot, the botnet responsible for sending approximately five billion spam messages every day, is one of the main culprits for using this technique," said Paul Wood, MessageLabs Intelligence senior analyst at Symantec. "Links of any size all need to be treated with caution."

The security of URL shortening services was among the first issue put under the microscope by the Month of Twitter Bugs project. The security awareness raising exercise debuted on 1 July with an advisory on four cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in the bit.ly URL-shrinking service.

Three of the flaws had already been plugged before the advisory, while the remaining vulnerability was fixed on the same day as the bulletin. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)
So nasty no one's even whispering until patch is out
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones
Claims it's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – catching killers and pedos
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.