Firefox, Opera allow crooks to hide an entire phish site in a link (John Leyden)

Monty Solomon monty at
Mon Sep 3 16:52:17 PDT 2012

John Leyden, Watch out for the tinyurl that isn't, *The Register*, 3 Sep 2012

A shortcoming in browsers including Firefox and Opera allows crooks to
easily hide an entire malicious web page in a clickable link - ideal for
fooling victims into handing over passwords and other sensitive info.

Usually, so-called "phishing attacks" rely on tricking marks into visiting
websites designed by criminals to masquerade as banks and online stores,
thus snaffling punters' credentials and bank account details when they try
to use the bogus pages. However this requires finding somewhere to host the
counterfeit sites, which are often quickly taken down by hosting companies
and the authorities or blocked by filters.

Instead, the malicious web pages can be stored in data URIs - uniform
resource identifiers, not to be confused with URLs - which stuff the web
code into a handy string that when clicked on, instructs the browser to
unpack the payload and present it as a page.

It negates the need to find somewhere to secrete your malicious page, and
once shortened using a service such as TinyURL, the URI can be reduced to a
small URL perfect for passing around social networks, online chats and
e-mail. Crooks would still need to set up a server to receive data from
victims, however. ...


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