URL lengthening service also makes URLs "shady"


#1

[Read the post]


#2

Oh this sort of thing gets a whole chapter in my forthcoming book,

How to win Enemies and give them the Influence they Need to Cause You Harm.


#3

URL shorteners already creep me out.


#4

Was hoping for an Easter egg with this one:

http://www.5z8.info/autoinstall_z7n7dn_nsfw


#5

Thanks, already had enough Rick Astley today. Boom-ch-boom-boom!


#6

Hey, it works!


#7

I teach web development, and creating a URL shortener is our first ‘application’ challenge. Most students are happy to make a conventional shortener, but I always tell one pair I have a special challenge for them.

“I want you to make it longer.”
“But… why?”
“Because we can.”
“But… but… what will it do?”
“Exactly.”

And this is how you get a URL lengthener that turns your link into procedurally generated Taylor Swift lyrics.


#8

Oh, whaddyaknow?! There is an Easter egg!


#9

This is wise. They should scare anyone.


#10

FIFY…


#11

There’s actually one long-running spammer (an Arizona-based outfit that specializes in small US businesses) that used 5z8.info URLs in their spam for a while.

Spammers often use URL rewriting services as a way to get past URL-based blacklists, and this outfit must have reasoned that it didn’t matter what the URL looked like. HTML-formatted emails mostly hide the URL from the recipient, so the risk that recipients would be frightened off by the apparently ‘shady’ URL was small.


#12

well it sure fools the work filters.


#13

And that splains getting blocked at work.


#14

Doesn’t work recursively to generate really long and disturbing links. :frowning2:


#15

If I were a spammer I’d use this for the unsubscribe link.


#16
At the current effective rate of querying bit.ly, enumerating the entire bit.ly database would take approximately 12.2 million compute hours, roughly equivalent to 510,000 client-days. Amazon EC2 Spot Instances may be a cost-effective resource for automated URL scanning...At the time we were conducting our scanning experiments, Amazon EC2 Spot Instances cost $0.003 per hour, thus scanning the entire bit.ly URL space would have cost approximately $36,700.

!!!


#17

A bit much to do just for the lulz; but probably not enough to even need Serious Signed Approval at a number of the world’s spook shops, never mind the economically motivated criminals.

(And, of course, bit.ly already has the entire bit.ly database, since that’s how ‘the bit.ly database’ exists; and what do they do to make money, anyway?)


#18

If you have an unsubscribe link, I think you’re missing some foundational concepts of spam.


#19

Ha that’s pretty funny. I made something like this too, to give short urls a bit more style.

friskypriests.com
hogtiedteens.org
shittyporn.com
tittycircus.com
crackheadlove.com
shittydomain.com
tittykazoo.com

I haven’t tested them in awhile but as far as I know they all still work. And with at least friskypriests.com you can assign your own custom code (http://friskypriests.com/boing goes to my preferred method of reading boingboing, for example).

Edited to add: they have another advantage over most short url services: their generated codes are just 4 characters, making them easy to type by hand.


#20

… and now you’re on a watchlist, too. Congratulations!