Tag Archives: shortened URLs

Web of Trust (WOT) And Facebook Collaborate To Protect Users From Malicious Links

imageIf you’re a Facebook user and you haven’t met a cybercriminal yet; hang in there – you will. Survey after survey continue to show that cybercriminals are picking off Facebook users as if they were shooting fish in a barrel.

Most cybercriminal schemes on Facebook are outrageous. But the bad guys know, that even the most outrageous schemes stand a better than average chance of being successful when targeted at Facebook’s largely unaware, and unsophisticated, user base.

With the collaborative effort announced today by Facebook and Web of Trust, WOT will now provide protection against dubious and malicious web links, that Facebook users continue to be exposed to. When a Facebook user clicks a link that leads to a page with a poor reputation rating as defined by the WOT community, Facebook will show a clear warning message.

Click on graphic to expand to original.


The plan is to roll out to US users 100% on May 12, and then the following week, after the translators have time to finish their work, roll out globally.

A quick reminder:

WOT’s Browser add-on users see reputation icons on Web sites, Google search results, email links, Twitter, as well as shortened URLs. WOT ratings are recalculated every 30 minutes to ensure users have the freshest and most reliable information. The free WOT add-on works in all web browsers and can be downloaded here.

You can read a full review on the benefits of adding WOT to your Browser here on this site – WOT (Web of Trust) – Is It The Most Important Browser Security Add-on You Need To Install?

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Browser Plug-ins, Cyber Crime, Cyber Criminals, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, FaceBook, Firefox Add-ons, Freeware, Internet Explorer Add-ons, Malware Protection, Online Safety, social networking, Social Networks, Software, Windows Tips and Tools, WOT (Web of Trust)

MessageLabs Reports Spammers Shortened URLs Cause Business Shut Down

image The unlimited power that cyber-crooks exercise over legitimate traffic on the Internet is becoming more evident. Imagine legitimate businesses being forced to cease operations because of cyber-criminals. Unfortunately, given the current “wild west” state of the Internet, this is now a sad reality.

Courtesy MessageLabs Intelligence

According to Symantec’s new MessageLabs Intelligence report, unveiled today, shortened-URL spam continues to be a popular technique for spammers seeking to sell drugs online.

Spammers are taking advantage of the heightened interest in health-related issues such as swine flu and Obama’s healthcare reform, to distribute large shortened-URL spam runs using the powerful Donbot botnet.

In August, the ongoing abuse of shortened-URLs as a delivery mechanism resulted in a number of legitimate URL-shortening services being forced to close their businesses due to their inability to handle the malicious use of their tools.


Shortened-URL spam has had a big impact on users and businesses this month, but it’s not the only technique we’re seeing from the bad guys. Other online threats that should also be on your radar:

Cutwail’s nine lives: On August 1st, Latvian ISP Real Host was shutdown, causing Cutwail’s activity levels to drop by 90 percent. However, it only took Cutwail a matter of days to recover, demonstrating just how powerful and intelligent this botnet has become.

DDoS attacks on social networks: A number of social networking websites were recently reported to be victims of DDoS attacks. MessageLabs found that the attacks may be linked with a spam run against an anti-Russian blogger.

MessageLabs Intelligence suggests that this small but strategic spam run contributed to the DDoS attacks on these social networking sites. A botnet was also used to conduct the DDoS attack in parallel, with compromised computers under the botnet’s control commanded to open the page of the targeted social networking website.

Old malware comes back to haunt us: MessageLabs Intelligence analysis highlights how cybercriminals are three times as likely to favor repurposing malware across numerous domains rather than developing new tactics. In August, analysis of malware being blocked each day highlights that only 11.9 percent was newly developed malware.

You can find the full MessageLabs Intelligence report here.

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Filed under Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Email, email scams, Interconnectivity, Internet Security Alerts, Malware Advisories, Malware Reports, MessageLabs, Symantec, Windows Tips and Tools

Spammers Go Short – Cut Link Lengths

The presence of shortened URLs in spam has skyrocketed over the past few days and now appears in more than two percent of all spam, according to MessageLabs Intelligence.

With many social networking sites providing character restrictions on status updates and messages, the use of free URL redirection services which turn lengthy web addresses into shortened URLs, is increasing in popularity with spammers for a number of reasons.

According to Paul Wood, MessageLabs Intelligence Senior Analyst, Symantec – “There are literally dozens of websites that offer URL shortening services and spammers have realized that using these services eliminates the need to solve a CAPTCHA or register an account.”

“The newly shortened URLs also help cybercriminals disguise the true destination of where their victims will click through to, posing further risks of entering websites used to conduct drive-by malware attacks as well as spam. Donbot, the botnet responsible for sending approximately five billion spam messages every day, is one of the main culprits using this technique. Links of any size all need to be treated with caution.” Since you are a cautious Internet user, you know that, right?


For more information on email security, checkout MessageLabs Solutions.

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Filed under bots, Don't Get Hacked, Email, email scams, Interconnectivity, Internet Security Alerts, Malware Advisories, Online Safety, Windows Tips and Tools