About Us | Contact Us
View Cart

Beware Blind Redirects!

By Dan Hadaway | Sunday, January 31, 2010 - Leave a Comment

As always, try to know where you’re going before you go there!

A technique called “URL Shortening” is growing in popularity now that we’ve all started tweeting in Twitter.

Website developers tend to use long URLs that represent things like data hierarchies and session information.  This may result in a URL that very long and difficult to remember, or one that is almost impossible to type, or one that stretches across two lines in an e-mail message. Copying a URL that is hundreds of characters long can garble what you actually paste into your browser.

So sometimes a shortened URL is useful to copy on an e-mail message or a forum post. Since twitter limits our tweets to 140 characters, websites such as tinyurl, bit.ly, etc. can easily convert a longer url to a short one.

For example: http://www.infotex.com/twitter/uat_workshop/making_the_point/about_blind_redirects/you_are_finally_here.html

can be shortened to:  http://bit.ly/4QQaoi.

But there’s risk in using shortened URLs . . . . the same risks we face whenever somebody sends us a link in an e-mail message. Shortened URLs are what we call “blind re-directs.” We can’t really see where we’re going when we click on these links.

The risk is the same as links sent to us in e-mail, only with one less piece of reliable information to use in our vigilance. The key question ends up being: How do we know the sender is really who they claim to be?

Sure, if we are following somebody on Twitter and we see a shortened url in a tweet that we are expecting, we can probably trust the blind re-direct. But what if the twitter account was compromised?

Once again we must be diligent . . . our awareness must be activated continually . . . or somebody is going to send us a blind re-direct that takes us to a Phishing site or worse, a drive-by attack site.

So . . . . though we’re not exactly ready to say don’t use em . . . . they offer a lot of convenience . . . we have stopped using them on Vigilize. And we think the word should be put out that users should be wary of these little links. Always pay attention to where you’re going. Understand the risks, and don’t just blindly click on a blind link!

(Sorry about the pun . . . we couldn’t help ourselves!)

 

Click here for more information about User Awareness Training.

 

Infotex Team

Intended Use:

The purpose of Vigilize is to respond to ISO’s complaints that users never read ISO’s “ongoing security awareness training reminders.”  Our tweets are designed to be copied into the subject line of your awareness reminder, with the language on these pages put into the body.  The goal is that the user will have to read the subject line to know to delete the message, and if they understand the subject line the reminder is communicated.  If not, they will go into the message and read the reminder.

Feel free to use Vigilize in your own Security Awareness Program.  Let us know if you have any ideas, suggested tweets, or ways to improve this FREE service.

Posted in Vigilize

Latest News
    Another awareness poster for YOUR customers (and users).  Now that we have our own employees aware, maybe it’s time to start posting content for our customers! Download the large versions here: Awareness Poster (Portrait) Awareness Poster (Landscape)   You are welcome to print out and distribute this around your office. Interested in one of ours […]
    Questions about China’s new disclosure laws only highlight the uncertainty about disclosure in general… An article review. China recently made waves in the security world by announcing a new set of data security laws, one of which has added new fuel to a long running debate: how and when should security vulnerabilities be disclosed…and to […]
    Four Conditions … …For Why a Network Can be Anything But a Network! Another one of those Dan’s New Leaf Posts, meant to inspire thought about IT Governance . . . . I have to admit that infotex is being called into engineering meetings with larger organizations these days that are NOT community based banks.  We […]
    Another awareness poster for YOUR customers (and users).  Now that we have our own employees aware, maybe it’s time to start posting content for our customers! Download the large versions here: Awareness Poster (Portrait) Awareness Poster (Landscape)   You are welcome to print out and distribute this around your office. Interested in one of ours […]
    If Zero days need Zero clicks, are there any secure devices in the mix? Tanvee Dhir explores the Pegasus spyware. Another technical post, meant to inspire thought about IT Governance . . . . Introduction Over the past couple of weeks, we have seen multiple stories regarding a powerful piece of spyware called Pegasus sold […]
    Our Lead Non-Technical Auditor takes a look at the new AIO Guidance… Architecture, Infrastructure, and Operations (AIO) is the latest booklet released by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) in their line of  IT Examination Handbooks. It is an update to their 2004 Operations booklet and, as the name implies, expands into the areas […]
    Another awareness poster for YOUR customers (and users).  Now that we have our own employees aware, maybe it’s time to start posting content for our customers! Download the large versions here: Awareness Poster (Portrait) Awareness Poster (Landscape)   You are welcome to print out and distribute this around your office. Interested in one of ours […]
    Many organizations still fail to consider the unique risks posed by cloud computing… An article review. Last month thousands of Western Digital MyCloud device owners learned about the risks of cloud-based solutions the hard way: their data had been wiped remotely due to a flaw in the internet-facing component of their external hard drives. While […]
    infotex does not use Kaseya… We are protecting our Clients! Another blog post meant to inspire thought about IT Governance . . . . To all infotex managed security service Clients: As you may be aware there was a large ransomware attack recently that leveraged a remote management tool called Kaseya that is used by many […]
    While we’re not a news service, we often use current events to comment on trends and our services. This blog is intended to get people thinking about topics and trends in Technology Risk Management, through our article reviews, as well as through original blog articles about current events and our MSSP services (such as our […]