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Innovation in Information Security

Coverage of important Information Security and Information Technology news and events from the research team at S?nnet Beskerming.

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Don't Click Here

A number of media outlets are now covering news of a program run by the FBI that led to the arrest of people for clicking on fake links that the FBI had set up. The rationale for this being appropriate was that the fake links suggested that they led to child pornography.

As at least one noted web security expert has pointed out that it sounds like a good idea in theory, but it fails to take into account the ease by which users can either be tricked into visiting links or by which their systems can automatically be sent to links without the user's knowledge or permission. Even some browsers include link prefetching, which silently loads data from the links present on a page so that when a user follows one, the browser has already received most of the data for the page.

Even worse, it acts as a discouragement for people to report on anything that they have seen.

For the affected individuals, they had their homes raided and ""computer-related" equipment, utility bills, telephone bills, any "addressed correspondence" sent through the U.S. mail, video gear, camera equipment, checkbooks, bank statements, and credit card statements" seized. That's a lot for clicking a link on the web (which has to be proven that they actually clicked, first).

21 March 2008

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