Feeds

Short URLs in spam skyrocket

The Twitter effect

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
Experian subsidiary faces MEGA-PROBE for 'selling consumer data to fraudster'
US attorneys general roll up sleeves, snap on gloves
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.