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Spammers Using Shortened .gov URLs

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the just-write-to-pueblo-colorado dept.

Government 75

hypnosec writes "Cyber-scammers have started using '1.usa.gov' links in their spam campaigns in a bid to fool gullible users into thinking that the links they see on a website or have received in their mail or newsletter are legitimate U.S. Government websites. Spammers have created these shortened URLs through a loophole in the URL shortening service provided by bit.ly. USA.gov and bit.ly have collaborated, enabling anyone to shorten a .gov or .mil URL into a 'trustworthy' 1.usa.gov URL. Further, according to an explanation provided by HowTo.gov, creating these usa.gov short URLs does not require a login." Which might not be a big deal, except that the service lets through URLs with embedded redirects, and it is to these redirected addresses that scammers are luring their victims.

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75 comments

First post. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41720677)

Slashdot is dying.

Re:First post. (-1, Offtopic)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about a year and a half ago | (#41720719)

Slashdot is dying.

Has Netcraft confirmed this? We'll hang it on the wall next to BSD, I suppose.

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41720705)

You can always trick the user with a .gov hyperlink to some other tld off course.

So THAT'S Obama's plan... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41720777)

So THAT'S Obama's plan to solve unemployment: provide more opportunities for spammers!

Hey, it's a better idea than the rest of his platform.

2*WTF (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41720819)

Isn't the major WTF in the second stage of the "attack", a .gov site that will happy redirect to _any_ site feed to its (link) script? Obviously the .gov shortening will help in the "attack" on people that do not click everything they see.

Re:2*WTF (5, Informative)

rjr162 (69736) | about a year and a half ago | (#41720861)

That was exactly my thought. The URL shortener may be a f'up having it open like that, but the bigger f'up is the fact the site in the second link allows any address
For example

Http://labor.vermont.gov/LinkClick.aspx?link=http://www.slashdot.org

To me that's the bigger f'up

Re:2*WTF (1)

hymie! (95907) | about a year and a half ago | (#41720945)

I'm not sure I'd call it a "f'up" ... imagine if it were your job to maintain a complete authoritative list of every external web site that labor.vermont.gov links to.

It's certainly becoming a problem; I'm just saying that "A page the redirects wherever it needs to redirect to" was probably the goal, not the side-effect.

Re:2*WTF (4, Insightful)

dingen (958134) | about a year and a half ago | (#41720985)

If it was my job to produce a list of all links, I would scan the site for all links. How about that?

I really can't believe people who come up with stuff like this... I mean, a script with the ability to redirect to anything a user inputs, that just doesn't make any sense whatsoever.

Re:2*WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41731819)

Scarier than that is that it's coming from the query string. If they're dumb enough to allow redirects to any value in GET's link variable, they probably didn't filter or escape that variable. I bet there's a good chance you could run executable code from that query string.

Re:2*WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41721039)

You're way out of your depth.

no, it's a f'up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41723617)

If you want to link to an external site, JUST DO IT.

Does somebody not know how to make a normal link? That whole LinkClick.aspx thing is useless at best, but likely an unwelcome way to spy on users. (allowing labor.vermont.gov to know you followed the link... but why do they deserve to know?)

Re:no, it's a f'up (1)

PTBarnum (233319) | about a year and a half ago | (#41725971)

So they can tell if the link is doing any good or not. If nobody clicks on a link, it is a waste and can be replaced by a more useful link or simply removed to make the page simpler.

Re:2*WTF (4, Insightful)

dingen (958134) | about a year and a half ago | (#41720965)

A script called "LinkClick.aspx" which takes a url as argument and forwards the browser to that address. Seriously, what the hell? Do these people know ANYTHING about how the web works? I can't even begin to describe what a load of nonsense such a script is to begin with. How about, oh I don't know, an actual link? Or an HTTP redirect?

Why the hell was "LinkClick.aspx" even created to begin with? Let alone why it's publicly available and accepts any url. This is so wrong, my head is about to explode.

Re:2*WTF (5, Informative)

Afty0r (263037) | about a year and a half ago | (#41721059)

It will be for tracking purposes, so that the site owners knows who has clicked on which external links, and from which pages on their site.

I'm not saying it's a marvel of engineering, but it's a common request from marketers.

disclaimers (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | about a year and a half ago | (#41722055)

They're not so much used for tracking as popping up "you are now leaving our site, we're not responsible for this content" advisories. I have yet to see a US government agency website that doesn't do this - and they're virtually the only ones who do.

Re:disclaimers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41722323)

You would have seen one if you had tried out the URL rjr162 posted. It redirects to slashdot without showing an advisory.

Re:2*WTF (2)

Delusionner (558717) | about a year and a half ago | (#41725513)

The usual way to implement that sort of tracking is by having a list of sensible URLs to track in the database and redirecting *only* those.

Re:2*WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41731859)

There are better, much much much more secure and far less egregiously stupid ways to do that. Egregiously stupid is what gov does best though.

Re:2*WTF (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41721065)

I would guess that LinkClick.aspx was created to track outbound links from the site.
That way they can easily create statistics on what links people click on.

It is a lazy way to do it to avoid having to keep track of which links you want to track.
Everyone does it, even google search. Although some are doing it in a good way and keep track of what they allow to redirect, not just allow anything.

Re:2*WTF (1)

dingen (958134) | about a year and a half ago | (#41721127)

The reason Google does this, is because they check if the website is listed as fraudulent and displays a warning if that is the case. But on your own website, you don't have to implement such functionality as you probably have a lot of control over what you link to in the first place.

I get the wish to track outbound links, but seriously, this is not the way to do it.

Re:2*WTF (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41721225)

Google could add redirection only to links which are suspected to lead to fraudulent sites, but they add redirection to all links. They do it for the same reason everybody else does it: To track what you clicked.

Re:2*WTF (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | about a year and a half ago | (#41721067)

It was probably created for tracking purposes, the same way that clicking on an unmodified Google search result also takes you to a redirect url.

Why the hell was "LinkClick.aspx" created? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41721073)

It tracks the links that a user clicks on:

When you browse any web site, one log file entry is created for every page you visit --- with the information where you came from. When you follow a link from one web site "A.gov" to another web site "B.com", then this data would be stored in the log file of "B.com" --- but not in the log files of "A.gov".

By jumping through the LinkClick.aspx script, the site "A.gov" catches this information (where do our visitors go to?) in their log files.

Re:2*WTF (1)

hymie! (95907) | about a year and a half ago | (#41721123)

It's usually for either tracking, or for displaying a disclaimer "You are about to leave our web site. Nothing you see is under our control. Do you wish to continue?"

Re:2*WTF (1)

dingen (958134) | about a year and a half ago | (#41721155)

Websites seriously implement such a warning? Wow... I'm truly amazed by the craziness of this entire thread.

Re:2*WTF (3, Interesting)

hymie! (95907) | about a year and a half ago | (#41721189)

Websites seriously implement such a warning?

Yes. Go to the IRS web site http://www.irs.gov . At the bottom right, where it says "Visit Other Sites", click on "U. S. Treasury" (which, by the way, is the parent organization of the IRS).

Re:2*WTF (2)

dingen (958134) | about a year and a half ago | (#41721261)

That really is quite ridiculous. But at least don't they don't allow just any url in their redirection script, I guess that's something...

Re:2*WTF (2)

fatphil (181876) | about a year and a half ago | (#41721309)

For me, when I click on a link to a youtube video from within a comment on a youtube video, youtube warns me that I'm about to leave youtube, and be redirected to youtube, asking me if I really want to do that.

Re:2*WTF (1)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | about a year and a half ago | (#41721389)

You should make a YouTube video about that. I bet it will get lots of comments.

Remember that lame late 70s/early 80s video technique where you'd point a camcorder into a TV monitor and get the endless recursion effect? Hey, it'd be more interesting than that YT vid that takes 571 hours [youtube.com] to watch.

Re:2*WTF (1)

fatphil (181876) | about a year and a half ago | (#41721343)

Google for ``inurl:.gov?LinkClick.aspx?link=''

About 53,400 results

Good luck blacklisting all of them, USA.gov...

USA.gov should have its right to operate a website revoked, it's at least as culpable as any of the idiots who implement the link-following on their .gov site, as it presumes there are no idiots with .gov domains.

Re:2*WTF (1)

fatphil (181876) | about a year and a half ago | (#41721395)

Actually a fair chunk of those hits are not troublesome ones as google's not very good at working out what I was searching for. However, there are plenty of link= redicts all over the whole gamut of .gov domains. I haven't found any .mil use of the redirect yet, but I'm sure some exist.

Re:2*WTF (2)

similar_name (1164087) | about a year and a half ago | (#41721473)

Google search results are all redirects.

Google or Slashdot? [google.com] If you try to alter it I believe Google gives you a redirect warning. But as long as you can find your site through Google you can create a link that looks like it goes to Google but goes wherever you want.

Re:2*WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41723463)

Don't open government site URLs unless deliberately typed in. Don't open URL shorteners. Problem solved.

Re:2*WTF (1)

mysidia (191772) | about a year and a half ago | (#41724679)

Http://labor.vermont.gov/LinkClick.aspx?link=http://www.slashdot.org
To me that's the bigger f'up

Why is that?

Suppose you want an efficient way of tracking which external links visitors of your site are clicking on. A script such as LinkClick.aspx is a reasonable way of achieving that.

Limiting LinkClick.aspx to a specific list of URLs adds extra unnecessary maintenance work, and it's really not an issue to allow you to redirect yourself to any site.

Assuming there's no f'up such as 1.usa.gov allowing any .gov link.

The GOV TLD is not, and never was, a TLD you can see in a URL and be certain that you are visiting a trusted website.

The .GOV TLD is not some walled garden that is isolated from the internet, that is secured perfectly and magically immune from containing security vulnerabilities, malicious content, defacements, infections, etc.

Re:2*WTF (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41720897)

Don't act so shocked. There are redirection URLs out the wazoo. Even CNN had a story [cnn.com] about them.

Re:2*WTF (1)

flonker (526111) | about a year and a half ago | (#41722877)

I agree, however, 1.usa.gov can mitigate this attack by checking each link for a redirect before accepting it into their database.

Impersonating a Government Agency... (1)

Tempest451 (791438) | about a year and a half ago | (#41720983)

...will get you real federal prison time. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/912 [cornell.edu]

Re:Impersonating a Government Agency... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41721223)

dude, maybe for fucking ONCE the FBI will have something on their to do list that has some social value. cross your fingers noobz, some fucking spammers gonna go to PMITA prison.

Re:Impersonating a Government Agency... (1)

jythie (914043) | about a year and a half ago | (#41722183)

Spamming is too profitable, and thus going after it would 'hurt the economy'.

Maybe it's just me... (4, Insightful)

dingen (958134) | about a year and a half ago | (#41721011)

... but a url which starts with "1.usa.gov" doesn't strike me as particularly trustworthy.

Re:Maybe it's just me... (1)

Nyder (754090) | about a year and a half ago | (#41722495)

... but a url which starts with "1.usa.gov" doesn't strike me as particularly trustworthy.

I just don't trust anything from the government, so I'm safe.

Plus, the gov doesn't have my email address unless it been harvesting them.

Re:Maybe it's just me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41724509)

If slashdot has your e-mail, the government has your email. The government can ask and it'd probably be answered. Otherwise, they can demand slashdot give them any information they want. Trying to hide information from government which you give away to companies in your country is a silly effort.

Re:Maybe it's just me... (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year and a half ago | (#41723721)

True, but something like ''FedWorld' sounds like an obvious scam too. The thing is, obvious scams are obvious because it's easy to detect the incompetence, but then you try to apply that to government, and all bets are off.

Happened before (0, Flamebait)

boulat (216724) | about a year and a half ago | (#41721045)

Obama has been spamming for donations from @whitehouse.gov for years!

Re:Happened before (1)

boulat (216724) | about a year and a half ago | (#41721139)

How is this a 'Flamebait'? Get a sense of humor you Nazis

Re:Happened before (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41725873)

It's flamebait because you made fun of their stupid religion and their more stupid messiah.

Oh wow, now it makes sense (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41721105)

I've been getting spams from IRS.gov. First the content doesn't apply to me, and they are grammatically incorrect. But I can see somebody being fooled. The URL is .irs.gov/get action.aspx. Seeing IRS.gov makes it seem real. Knowing better stops me from clicking the link (but I want to, just to see what it does).

I thought it might be a SQL injection hack. Great, now there are more .gov attacks, built by the govt.

What will they think of next?

Who in the FedGov is using Bit.ly? (1)

Quinn_Inuit (760445) | about a year and a half ago | (#41721255)

This seems like a terrible idea. I wouldn't touch Bit.ly for something official at work now that go.usa.gov is live. That requires a federal gov't e-mail address as a login, and people abusing the system can be stopped at the account level.

Admittedly, before go.usa.gov went live I needed to use a shortening service on occasion, but I always used tinyurl preview links when that came up. I figured that it was the least I could do to improve transparency for users.

The Simple Answer (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41721403)

Everyone is responsible for knowing where they are clicking through to. Nobody bothers to check the actual target URL. A simple answer is:
1. Turn on the status bar at the bottom of the browser window.[usually View/Toolbars/Status Bar (checkbox)]
2. Each URL pointed to will show the actual target in the status bar.
3. Make sure that's really where you want to go, and DON'T click if you don't recognise the URL shown there.

Re:The Simple Answer (1)

pod (1103) | about a year and a half ago | (#41725123)

I like how this is modded funny, because overriding the status bar is something even Google does with its search results to hide that every link is actually a redirect.

their really is a lusa dot gov domain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41721645)

nuf said

Redirect ALL YOU WANT, scammers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41721861)

You can't "catch me", I'm the "gingerbread man"... how? Easy as apple-pie, since I populate my custom hosts file every 12 hours "automagically" here, &/or do supplementing manual runs too (IF I see 1 of my sources update during that timeframe, I get its data & "merge it" in with the rest).

So - IF you don't want to be:

A.) Tracked
B.) Spammed
C.) Speed/bandwidth hogged by ads (as well as electricity, CPU cycles, RAM, & other forms of I/O as well)
D.) Hit by malware or malicious scripts (for better "layered-security"/"defense-in-depth", reliability
E.) Hit by DNS poisoning redirection (OR DNS servers being "downed")
F.) Blocked out & have even more 'anonymity' (to an extent vs. DNS request logs) + being able to "blow by" what you may feel are unjust blocks (in DNSBL's))...

...& more?

---

APK Hosts File Engine 5.0++ 32-bit & 64-bit:

http://start64.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5851:apk-hosts-file-engine-64bit-version&catid=26:64bit-security-software&Itemid=74

---

Custom hosts files gain me the following benefits (A short summary of where custom hosts files can be extremely useful):

---

1.) Blocking out malware/malscripted sites

2.) Blocking out Known sites-servers/hosts-domains that are known to serve up malware

3.) Blocking out Bogus DNS servers malware makers use

4.) Blocking out Botnet C&C servers

5.) Blocking out Bogus adbanners that are full of malicious script content

6.) Blocking out known spammers &/or phishers

7.) Blocking out TRACKERS

8.) Getting you back speed/bandwidth you paid for by blocking out adbanners + hardcoding in your favorite sites (faster than remote DNS server resolution)

9.) Added reliability (vs. downed or misdirect/poisoned DNS servers).

10.) Added "anonymity" (to an extent, vs. DNS request logs)

11.) The ability to bypass DNSBL's (DNS block lists you may not agree with).

12.) More screen "real estate" (since no more adbanners appear onscreen eating up CPU, Memory, & other forms of I/O too - bonus!)

13.) Truly UNIVERSAL PROTECTION (since any OS, even on smartphones, usually has a BSD drived IP stack).

14.) Faster & MORE EFFICIENT operation vs. browser plugins (which "layer on" ontop of Ring 3/RPL 3/usermode browsers - whereas the hosts file operates @ the Ring 0/RPL 0/Kernelmode of operation (far faster) as a filter for the IP stack itself...)

15.) Custom hosts files work on ANY & ALL webbound apps (browser plugins do not).

16.) Custom hosts files offer a better, faster, more efficient way, & safer way to surf the web & are COMPLETELY controlled by the end-user of them.

---

* There you go... & above all else IF you choose to try it for the enumerated list of benefits I extolled above?

Enjoy the program! However, more importantly, the results in better speed/bandwidth, privacy, reliability, "layered-security"/"defense-in-depth", & even anonymity to an extent (vs. DNS request logs & blowing past DNSBL's) + more, that custom hosts files can yield...

Of course, THIS is NOT going to "go well" with 3 types of people out there online, profiting by advertising & nefarious exploits + more @ YOUR expense as the consumer:

---

A.) Malware makers & the like (botnet masters, etc./et al)

B.) ADVERTISERS - the TRULY offended ones, as it is their "lifeblood" in psychological attack galore, tracking, & more, etc.!

C.) Possibly webmasters (who profit by ad banners, but fail to realize that those SAME adbanners suck away the users' bandwidth/speed, electricity, CPU cycles, RAM, & other forms of I/O they PAY FOR, plus, adbanners DO get infested with malicious code, & if anyone wants many "examples thereof" from the past near-decade now? Ask!)

---

APK

P.S.=> Lastly - Since I update so frequently on this account? They can redirect ALL THEY WANT TO with these "faked" shortened urls (I block url shorteners out too - I knew they'd be misused one day is why, like most security-conscious users of a PC would realize basically) - I cut out BOTH the shortener service servers, AND the source of the exploit(s) as they are discovered every 12 hours, or more frequently IF I wish, from 12 reputable + reliable sources for said data vs. online exploitations...

... apk

SecureWorks already reported on this last week (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41721913)

Old news is old.

SecureWorks already reported on this last week:

http://www.secureworks.com/cyber-threat-intelligence/blog/spam/government-websites-abused-ongoing-spam-campaign/

Just like their AV protection, Symantec is a week late :)

URL shortners should be dismissed as spam (1)

DarkOx (621550) | about a year and a half ago | (#41722375)

There is no reason an e-mail needs to contain a obfuscated link. Its either a bound through some marketing tracking crap (therefore is spam) or it might be malicous. The best way to approach this is just start dropping mails that contain links with the URL of any known shorteners.

It won't take long for legitimate and semi-legitimate senders to realize they just can't use such links because it means their messages don't get past recipient spam filters. Honestly from a security standpoint I can't see why it should ever be considered okay to follow an obfuscated link in an otherwise unauthenticated and untrusted document like an E-mail. We spend years trying to teach people not to click links in mails without checking they point where the display text says they do first and stupid bit.ly came along and make that impossible for most users.

Now maybe if the message is signed and the spam gateway can verify the signature belongs to someone or some entity on the white list fine, but otherwise discard. As network and mail admins I think we owe it to our users to take hard line against this practice.

Agreed 110% (along w/ other things) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41724117)

So - IF you don't want to be:

A.) Tracked
B.) Spammed
C.) Speed/bandwidth hogged by ads (as well as electricity, CPU cycles, RAM, & other forms of I/O as well)
D.) Hit by malware or malicious scripts (for better "layered-security"/"defense-in-depth")
E.) Hit by DNS poisoning redirection (OR DNS servers being "downed") losing reliability
F.) Blocked out & have even more 'anonymity' (to an extent vs. DNS request logs) + being able to "blow by" what you may feel are unjust blocks (in DNSBL's))... ...& more?

---

APK Hosts File Engine 5.0++ 32-bit & 64-bit:

http://start64.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5851:apk-hosts-file-engine-64bit-version&catid=26:64bit-security-software&Itemid=74

---

Custom hosts files gain me the following benefits (A short summary of where custom hosts files can be extremely useful):

---

1.) Blocking out malware/malscripted sites.
2.) Blocking out Known sites-servers/hosts-domains that are known to serve up malware.
3.) Blocking out Bogus DNS servers malware makers use.
4.) Blocking out Botnet C&C servers.
5.) Blocking out Bogus adbanners that are full of malicious script content.
6.) Blocking out known spammers &/or phishers.
7.) Blocking out TRACKERS.
8.) Getting you back speed/bandwidth you paid for by blocking out adbanners + hardcoding in your favorite sites (faster than remote DNS server resolution).
9.) Added reliability (vs. downed or misdirect/poisoned DNS servers).
10.) Added "anonymity" (to an extent, vs. DNS request logs).
11.) The ability to bypass DNSBL's (DNS block lists you may not agree with).
12.) More screen "real estate" (since no more adbanners appear onscreen eating up CPU, Memory, & other forms of I/O too - bonus!).
13.) Truly UNIVERSAL PROTECTION (since any OS, even on smartphones, usually has a BSD drived IP stack).
14.) Faster & MORE EFFICIENT operation vs. browser plugins (which "layer on" ontop of Ring 3/RPL 3/usermode browsers & are generally written in slower INTERPRETED languages (e.g. AdBlock = python/perl/javascript)- Whereas by way of comparison, the hosts file operates @ the Ring 0/RPL 0/Kernelmode of operation (far faster) as a filter for the IP stack itself which is written in C & Assembly language...).
15.) Custom hosts files work on ANY & ALL webbound apps (browser plugins do not).
16.) Custom hosts files offer a better, faster, more efficient way, & safer way to surf the web & are COMPLETELY controlled by the end-user of them.

---

* There you go... & above all else IF you choose to try it for the enumerated list of benefits I extolled above?

Enjoy the program!

(However, more importantly, enjoy the results in better speed/bandwidth, privacy, reliability, "layered-security"/"defense-in-depth", & even anonymity to an extent (vs. DNS request logs & blowing past DNSBL's) + more, that custom hosts files can yield...)

Of course, THIS is NOT going to "go well" with 3 types of people out there online, profiting by advertising & nefarious exploits + more @ YOUR expense as the consumer:

---

A.) Malware makers & the like (botnet masters, etc./et al)
B.) ADVERTISERS - the TRULY offended ones, as it is their "lifeblood" in psychological attack galore, tracking, & more, etc.!
C.) Webmasters (who profit by ad banners, but fail to realize that those SAME adbanners suck away the users' bandwidth/speed, electricity, CPU cycles, RAM, & other forms of I/O they PAY FOR, plus, adbanners DO get infested with malicious code, & if anyone wants many "examples thereof" from the past near-decade now? Ask!)

---

APK

P.S.=> Lastly - finishing this off, with a quote from you:

"The best way to approach this is just start dropping mails that contain links with the URL of any known shorteners." - by DarkOx (621550) on Sunday October 21, @01:06PM (#41722375) Journal

Using the program above & populating a custom hosts file using it?

I block out BOTH the url shortening services (like ANY "security-conscious" user might, once these start being used more-or-less, like a URL obfuscating 'service' for malware makers!), AND, the sites/servers/hosts-domains that actual exploits you or others affected adversely by this are being redirected to are - which hosts files do a good job on!

... apk

To whoever downmodded my post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41727079)

Disprove any of its points instead of "hit & run downmodding" it -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3199555&cid=41724117

APK

P.S.=> After all - When "the BEST YOU'VE GOT" = unjustifiable downmods? You've got nothing, & since those of you that do that *think* it "hides it"?? Wake up - there's MORE people browsing here @ below the default than there is at the bogus default settings on this forums... So, in other words, face it: YOU FAIL, trolls!

... apk

Re:To whoever downmodded my post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41729847)

I just use CleanMyPC. Seems a lot simpler than mucking around with hosts files.

"To each his own" but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41730059)

See subject-line above - 110++ slashdot users feel otherwise:

---

70++ SLASHDOT USERS EXPERIENCING SUCCESS USING HOSTS FILES QUOTED VERBATIM:

---

"I want my surfing speed back so I block EVERY fucking ad. i.e. http://someonewhocares.org/hosts/ and http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm FTW" - by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Tuesday December 13, @12:04PM (#38356782)

"this is not a troll, which hosts file source you recommend nowadays? it's a really handy method for speeding up web and it works." - by gl4ss (559668) on Thursday March 22, @08:07PM (#39446525)

"I use a custom /etc/hosts to block ads... my file gets parsed basically instantly ... So basically, for any modern computer, it has zero visible impact. And even if it took, say, a second to parse, that would be more than offset by the MANY seconds saved by not downloading and rendering ads. I have noticed NO ill effects from running a custom /etc/hosts file for the last several years. And as a matter of fact I DO run http servers on my computers and I've never had an /etc/hosts-related problem... it FUCKING WORKS and makes my life better overall." - by sootman (158191) on Monday July 13 2009, @11:47AM (#28677363)

"I actually went and downloaded a 16k line hosts file and started using that after seeing that post, you know just for trying it out. some sites load up faster." - by gl4ss (559668) on Thursday November 17, @11:20AM (#38086752)

"Ever since I've installed a host file (http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm) to redirect advertisers to my loopback, I haven't had any malware, spyware, or adware issues. I first started using the host file 5 years ago." - by TestedDoughnut (1324447) on Monday December 13, @12:18AM (#34532122)

"Better than an ad blocker, imo. Hosts file entries: http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm " - by TempestRose (1187397) on Tuesday March 15, @12:53PM (#35493274)

"^^ One of the many reasons why I like the user-friendliness of the /etc/hosts file." - by lennier1 (264730) on Saturday March 05, @09:26PM (#35393448)

"They've been on my HOSTS block for years" - by ScottCooperDotNet (929575) on Thursday August 05 2010, @01:52AM (#33147212)

"I'm currently only using my hosts file to block pheedo ads from showing up in my RSS feeds and causing them to take forever to load. Regardless of its original intent, it's still a valid tool, when used judiciously." - by Bill Dog (726542) on Monday April 25, @02:16AM (#35927050)

"you're right about hosts files" - by drinkypoo (153816) on Thursday May 26, @01:21PM (#36252958)

"APK's monolithic hosts file is looking pretty good at the moment." - by Culture20 (968837) on Thursday November 17, @10:08AM (#38085666)

"I also use the MVPS ad blocking hosts file." - by Rick17JJ (744063) on Wednesday January 19, @03:04PM (#34931482)

"I use ad-Block and a hostfile" - by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Tuesday March 01, @10:11AM (#35346902)

"I do use Hosts, for a couple fake domains I use." - by icebraining (1313345) on Saturday December 11, @09:34AM (#34523012)

"It's a good write up on something everybody should use, why you were modded down is beyond me. Using a HOSTS file, ADblock is of no concern and they can do what they want." - by Trax3001BBS (2368736) on Monday December 12, @10:07PM (#38351398)

"Let me introduce you to the file: /etc/hosts" - by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Monday December 19, @05:03PM (#38427432)

"I use a hosts file" - by EdIII (1114411) on Tuesday December 13, @01:17PM (#38357816)

"I'm tempted to go for a hacked hosts file that simply resolves most advert sites to 127.0.0.1" - by bLanark (123342) on Tuesday December 13, @01:13PM (#38357760)

"A hosts file certainly does not require "a lot of work" to maintain, and it quite effectively kills a LOT of advertising and tracking schemes. . In fact, I never would have considered trying to use it for ddefending against viruses or malware." - by RocketRabbit (830691) on Thursday December 30 2010, @05:48PM (#34715060)

"I make use of the hosts file for various purposes, including getting my forum users set up with hosts file entries to the new server, beforehand, whenever our DNS entries are changing so they can still reach the forum while changes are propagating. THIS is a prime example of why the hosts file still exists and the behaviour should not be fucked with by those assclowns at Microsoft." - by TheRealGrogan (1660825) on Sunday August 19, @11:45PM (#41050749)

"I recognize the need for HOSTS files in certain circumstances." - by Martin Blank (154261) on Monday August 20, @12:56PM

"The hosts file is there for a reason; it is necessary" - by CAIMLAS (41445) on Monday August 20, @02:11PM (#41057409)

"How about for those of us who have to deal with internal and external IP addresses on websites as we move in and out of client networks. I have lots of hosts entries that *I* put there (and comment out, and uncomment) so that I can get to a site by one of several IP addresses without having to throw up an internal DNS server wherever one might be missing (like on a client's DMZ)." - by drakaan (688386) on Monday August 20, @01:20PM (#41056643)

"There's a whole slew of reasons for having a hostsfile (especially for developers) that DNS doesn't solve." - by Dynedain (141758) on on Sunday August 19, @10:31PM (#41050345)

"We use hosts files with shop floor manufacturing software that requires it." - by Lime Green Bowler (937876) on Sunday August 19, @10:20PM (#41050279)

"I also have a couple dozen SSH tunnel host overrides and various custom paths. The hosts file is used to define per-machine address resolution." - by Bob9113 (14996) on Monday August 20, @01:32AM (#41051303)

"The HOSTS file provides a convenient way to do this for those without direct control over their DNS server." - by wolrahnaes (632574) on Sunday August 19, @08:24PM (#41049667)

"Since the dawn of time, it's been typical for the marketing people to edit the hosts file to make a final review before authorizing something to go live." - by raju1kabir (251972) on Sunday August 19, @10:01PM (#41050173)

"I use a hosts file on my home machine to block the ads, and OpenDns for the kids machines." - by mrbcs (737902) on Monday August 20, @12:12AM (#41050909)

"Using the hosts file this way is legitimate" - by gweihir (88907) on Sunday August 19, @10:29PM (#41050333)

"I started using the hosts file over a decade ago" - by frovingslosh (582462) on Sunday August 19, @05:38PM (#41048641)

"The advantage of a hosts file is that one doesn't need to install extra firewall software" - by tepples (727027) on Monday August 20, @08:05PM (#41062129)

"One common use of the hosts file is to test staging servers, particularly web servers before pushing them live, and without the complexity and time it takes to set up an additional DNS server." - by kimvette (919543) on Sunday August 19, @04:56PM (#41048345)

"I'm often tinkering with the hosts file in a development setting" - by Geeky (90998) on Sunday August 19, @05:06PM (#41048409)

"I like to play Doom 3 every so often (particularly with mods like The Dark Mod, a great Thief clone), and the hosts file is something of a necessity." - by humanrev (2606607) on Sunday August 19, @09:20PM (#41049949)

"The hosts file is a popular, cross-platform way of blocking access to certain domains" - by maestroX (1061960) on Monday August 20, @03:43PM (#41058621)

"another cool trick is to set up a host file. http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm" - by phrostie (121428) on Friday February 17 2012, @11:39AM (#39074805)

"I modify my hosts file directly. I don't need extra shit using resources." - by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Thursday November 17 2011, @02:56PM (#38088942)

"The fix? Edit my Windows /etc/hosts file" - by mattbee (17533) on Sunday August 30 2009, @04:52PM (#29254321)

"Web browsing is really very fast, provided you turn off advertising. I set them up with a combo of Ad Block Plus on Firefox, and a customised hosts file. They can't believe the difference." - by VShael (62735) on Monday June 29 2009, @11:35AM (#28514655)

"you can also edit the hosts file if all else fails. We have a few (Vista) laptops where we needed to hardconfig LAN side server addresses in the hosts file" - by AndGodSed (968378) on Wednesday May 13 2009, @02:31PM (#27941353)

"If it's servers on your network you need, you could just stick a hosts file entry on their computers to resolve "webserver" to 10.1.200.34 etc." - by jafiwam (310805) on Wednesday May 13 2009, @02:51PM (#27941723)

"A logon script here loads a hosts file that null-routes a lot of known bad (spyware, etc) sites" - by i.r.id10t (595143) on Wednesday May 13 2009, @03:22PM (#27942211)

"check out an enhanced hosts file at http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm" - by NeverVotedBush (1041088) on Tuesday March 17 2009, @01:42PM (#27228373)

"Instead of using a filter maybe a hosts file would work better for you" - by falconwolf (725481) on Tuesday March 17 2009, @01:36PM (#27228241)

"I maintain a large hosts file to kill traffic with any server I find to be suspect." - by BrokenHalo (565198) on Thursday February 05 2009, @12:02PM (#26738403)

"I modified my hosts file to black-hole all of the worst offenders with regards to ads/malware" - by orclevegam (940336) on Thursday February 05 2009, @02:02PM (#26740813)

"I've been using a hosts file since around 2003. It blocks out all those ads, popups, spyware,adware, stops alot of virii from calling home, you name it" - by cyberjock1980 (1131059) on Thursday February 05 2009, @11:30AM (#26737795)

"HOSTS file FTW! This really is the best method. Its cross-platform and no matter what strategies the ad people try" - by gad_zuki! (70830) on Thursday February 05 2009, @11:40AM (#26737963)

"Recommendation 2: Go line and look for hosts files people have put available on the web. Copy it and save it. I once had a hosts file that was about 2 megs in size. Considering it is plain text that was a LOT of sites it blocked. It was my own little slice of heaven" - by furby076 (1461805) on Thursday February 05 2009, @11:48AM (#26738109)

"I have several notorious slow adservers in my /etc/hosts" - by jandrese (485) on Friday August 17 2007, @01:00PM (#20263547)

"If you're interested in populating your hosts file, check out http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm" - by halcyon1234 (834388) on Friday August 17 2007, @01:43PM (#20264387)

"(Ads) they dont bother me at all c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts 127.0.0.2 analytics.google.com" - by Anonymous Admin (304403) on Friday August 17 2007, @01:15PM (#20263863)

"On top of noscript and adblock, I block complete domains with http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm [mvps.org] And I also edit the css of the most visited websites with http://userstyles.org/" - by by houghi (78078) on Sunday September 23, @10:09AM (#41427821)

"I use the mvps.org HOSTS file as well, and have been very happy with it." - by drooling-dog (189103) on Sunday September 23, @11:39AM (#41428527)

"Custom hosts files will probably go far for this. Instead of keeping a txt file or something of your ipv6 ips. Throw them all in your hosts file." - by dracocat (554744) on Tuesday September 18, @02:48AM (#41371793)

"if you are not a Facebook user, then you can and should use your hosts file or firewall to block *.facebook.com and *.fbcdn.com" - by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Sunday September 23, @12:06PM (#41428715)

"All you need to not be tracked, is allready an your machine. /etc/hosts (even windows has that)" - by someones (2687911) on Sunday September 23, @03:21PM (#41430121)

"I'm going to continue running ABP, blocking third party cookies, running noscript, and blackholing known ad servers in my hosts file." - by sqrt(2) (786011) on Sunday September 23, @05:07PM (#41430971)

"So they want to play that game? Drop this line in your /etc/hosts file:" - by cratermoon (765155) on Sunday September 30, @01:13PM (#41506965)

"And this is me adding them to my hosts file: 0.0.0.0 [tab] www.itif.org [enter]" - by bmo (77928) on Sunday September 30, @12:47PM (#41506805)

"I get exactly the same effect with my Hosts file and for those that don't understand how they work, it's pretty god damn simple. I never make the connection to the god damn server - no ad/malware or other crap to see." - by fast turtle (1118037) on Sunday September 30, @03:00PM (#41507585)

"They're visually annoying and distracting. They're a waste of bandwidth. Sometimes they're even noisy. I block them with a hosts file" - by Kris_J (10111) on Monday October 10 2005, @11:12PM (#13761572)

"I not only ad blocked, but set up a hosts file to block entirely, just so the pages would load." - by SydShamino (547793) on Tuesday October 11 2005, @10:03AM (#13764385)

"I was on a roll and obtained hosts files. It started when ads got big time IN YOUR FACE" - by Technician (215283) on Tuesday October 11 2005, @01:01AM (#13762338)

"I use a hosts file to block ads" - by pjkeyzer (645364) on Monday October 10 2005, @11:46PM (#13761877)

"Go to Gorilla Design Studios: Using the Hosts File [accs-net.com] and read their explanation of how to use a HOSTS file to block out unwanted sites." - by srmalloy (263556) on Tuesday October 11 2005, @03:15PM (#13767229)

"hosts is useful" - by crutchy (1949900) on Saturday August 25, @09:41PM (#41126337)

"Blocking adverts is trivial. Hosts file, anyone?" - by couchslug (175151) on Saturday September 22, @10:43AM (#41420821)

---

Here's posts where I applied HOW to use custom hosts files effectively for added speed/bandwidth,. added "layered-security"/"defense-in-depth", added reliability (vs. downed OR 'DNS-poisoned' redirected DNS servers), & even added "anonymity" to an extent (vs. DNS request logs), PLUS to get around DNS level blocking(DNSBL's):

---

* THE HOSTS FILE GROUP 38++ THUSFAR (from +5 -> +1 RATINGS, usually "informative" or "interesting" etc./et al):

BANNER ADS & BANDWIDTH:2011 -> http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2139088&cid=36077722
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1907266&cid=34529608
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1490078&cid=30555632
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1869638&cid=34237268
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1461288&threshold=-1&commentsort=0&mode=thread&cid=30272074
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1255487&cid=28197285
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1206409&cid=27661983
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://apple.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1725068&cid=32960808
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1743902&cid=33147274
APK 20++ POINTS ON HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1913212&cid=34576182
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1862260&cid=34186256
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 (w/ facebook known bad sites blocked) -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1924892&cid=34670128
HOSTS FILE MOD UP FOR ANDROID MALWARE:2010 -> http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1930156&cid=34713952
HOSTS MOD UP ZEUSTRACKER:2011 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2059420&cid=35654066
HOSTS MOD UP vs AT&T BANDWIDTH CAP:2011 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2116504&cid=35985584
HOSTS MOD UP CAN DO SAME AS THE "CloudFlare" Server-Side service:2011 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2220314&cid=36372850
HOSTS and BGP +5 RATED (BEING HONEST):2010 http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1901826&cid=34490450
HOSTS & PROTECT IP ACT:2011 http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2368832&cid=37021700
HOSTS MOD UP:2011 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2457766&cid=37592458
HOSTS MOD UP & OPERA HAUTE SECURE:2011 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2457274&cid=37589596
0.0.0.0 in HOSTS:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1197039&cid=27556999
0.0.0.0 IN HOSTS:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1143349&cid=27012231
0.0.0.0 in HOSTS:2009 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1198841&cid=27580299
0.0.0.0 in HOSTS:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1139705&cid=26977225
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1319261&cid=28872833 (still says INSIGHTFUL)
HOSTS MOD UP vs. botnet: 2012 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2603836&cid=38586216
HOSTS MOD UP vs. SOPA act: 2012 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2611414&cid=38639460
HOSTS MOD UP vs. FaceBook b.s.: 2012 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2614186&cid=38658078
HOSTS MOD UP "how to secure smartphones": 2012 -> http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2644205&cid=38860239
HOSTS MOD UP "Free Apps Eat your Battery via ad displays": 2012 -> http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2734503&cid=39408607
HOSTS MOD UP "How I only hardcode in 50 of my fav. sites": 2012 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2857487&cid=40034765
APPLYING HOSTS TO DIFF. PLATFORM W/ TCP-IP STACK BASED ON BSD: 2008 -> http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1944892&cid=34831038
HOSTS vs. TRACKING ONLINE BY ADVERTISERS & BETTER THAN GHOSTERY: 2012 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2926641&cid=40383743
HOSTS FOR ANDROID SMARTPHONES: 2012 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2940173&cid=40455449
APK Hosts File Engine 5.0++: 2012 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3137925&cid=41429093

---

And, there you go!

APK

P.S.=> Then, there is also the words of respected security expert, Mr. Oliver Day, from SECURITYFOCUS.COM to "top that all off" as well:

A RETURN TO THE KILLFILE:

http://www.securityfocus.com/columnists/491

Some "PERTINENT QUOTES/EXCERPTS" to back up my points with (for starters):

---

"The host file on my day-to-day laptop is now over 16,000 lines long. Accessing the Internet -- particularly browsing the Web -- is actually faster now."

Speed, and security, is the gain... others like Mr. Day note it as well!

---

"From what I have seen in my research, major efforts to share lists of unwanted hosts began gaining serious momentum earlier this decade. The most popular appear to have started as a means to block advertising and as a way to avoid being tracked by sites that use cookies to gather data on the user across Web properties. More recently, projects like Spybot Search and Destroy offer lists of known malicious servers to add a layer of defense against trojans and other forms of malware."

Per my points exactly, no less... & guess who was posting about HOSTS files a 14++ yrs. or more back & Mr. Day was reading & now using? Yours truly (& this is one of the later ones, from 2001 http://www.furtherleft.net/computer.htm (but the example HOSTS file with my initials in it is FAR older, circa 1998 or so) or thereabouts, and referred to later by a pal of mine who moderates NTCompatible.com (where I posted on HOSTS for YEARS (1997 onwards)) -> http://www.ntcompatible.com/thread28597-1.html !

---

"Shared host files could be beneficial for other groups as well. Human rights groups have sought after block resistant technologies for quite some time. The GoDaddy debacle with NMap creator Fyodor (corrected) showed a particularly vicious blocking mechanism using DNS registrars. Once a registrar pulls a website from its records, the world ceases to have an effective way to find it. Shared host files could provide a DNS-proof method of reaching sites, not to mention removing an additional vector of detection if anyone were trying to monitor the use of subversive sites. One of the known weaknesses of the Tor system, for example, is direct DNS requests by applications not configured to route such requests through Tor's network."

There you go: AND, it also works vs. the "KAMINSKY DNS FLAW" & DNS poisoning/redirect attacks, for redirectable weaknesses in DNS servers (non DNSSEC type, & set into recursive mode especially) and also in the TOR system as well (that lends itself to anonymous proxy usage weaknesses I noted above also) and, you'll get to sites you want to, even IF a DNS registrar drops said websites from its tables as shown here Beating Censorship By Routing Around DNS -> http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/12/09/1840246/Beating-Censorship-By-Routing-Around-DNS & even DNSBL also (DNS Block Lists) -> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNSBL as well - DOUBLE-BONUS!

---

They just work & are an EFFECTIVE + efficient layer of defense, and increased efficiency/speed too...

... apk

Re:URL shortners should be dismissed as spam (1)

jackbird (721605) | about a year and a half ago | (#41725137)

If you need to email people that can't handle linebreaks that break long links on the receiving end, URL shorteners are a godsend.

Re:URL shortners should be dismissed as spam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41729743)

No, URL shorteners are stupidity enablers. You need to kick those people's asses until they get some software written some time in the last decade.

Government IT... (1)

nighthawk243 (2557486) | about a year and a half ago | (#41722905)

Government IT of any kind is mostly inept. I used to work on government systems and holy hell were they buggy and prone to downtime.

bitly doesn't care how their service is used... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41723057)

I've complained to bitly several times about spam bots on twitter abusing his services. He told me to fuck off.

There are better ways than LinkClick.aspx (1)

billyswong (1858858) | about a year and a half ago | (#41725975)

For those who said such an implementation has its legitimate use:

It is stupid. Period.

Write a simple "onclick" javascript, and the webpage can ping back all external links to its own server for whatever statistics purpose. Using redirect links for statistical purpose is NEVER necessary.

Also, waiting for those slow servers to reponse and redirect their redirection link is annoying. Just give me the site I am going to anyway please!

I have one of these scripts on my web site. (1)

Sanians (2738917) | about a year and a half ago | (#41744663)

I have one of these scripts on my web site. It isn't there to track if people click the links. It's to allow me to link to shady web sites without Google knowing that I'm linking to shady web sites and penalizing me for doing so. (They are useful for discussion sometimes.) The script itself is blocked by robots.txt, and so Google never sees that there's a redirect that points to the web site since it never makes a request to the script, whereas simply using a nofollow tag would still allow Google to know about the link's existence, even if it doesn't follow the link.

Reply from Bitly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41726945)

Thanks for getting in touch. We take spam issues very seriously and are constantly working to make spammers' lives miserable. We have blocked this open redirect (and others!) to prevent this from occurring again.

If you ever come across a bitly link being used maliciously, just get in touch via support.bitly.com and we'll take care of it!

Also! Let me know any specific questions you may have!
Kristine
@bitly

So, I want to know... (1)

htomc42 (2547444) | about a year and a half ago | (#41733789)

when the world is going to say "enough is enough" with these vermin, and drop them in some sort of Escape From NY type of gulag.

The world has enough problems facing it without these walking human cancers wreaking financial and technological destruction in their path.

Oh, I forgot all of our prison spaces are full of people enjoying natural herbs, silly, me, I forgot about such high-priority things like that.

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