5 Replies Latest reply: Oct 21, 2010 5:54 AM by lhebbes RSS

    A few problems?

      Firstly, I commend you for trying to make short URLs more secure and I can see a point to what you are trying to do, unlike some. However, I have come across some potential problems with your service, which I talk about in my blog. For example, you seem to default to stating that a URL is safe when there is no information on it. I set up a few pages to test this out and all were marked with a green tick. I think by default you should mark them as unknown. Your service also seems to use misleading categories - a test page I set up was flagged as being a Business Internet Services company, which it really wasn't and should never be elevated to that status as people might falsely trust the link.

       

      More worrying was the fact that I could link to malware sites. I know that you have stated elsewhere that you only check when a user follows a link rather than at link creation, but I think you should do both. I can also use iframes, scripts or redirects to display a malware site in the window with your nice big green tick above it (screenshots at my blog). This is worse than not having it in my opinion. If there is no safeguard people will be cautious. If, however, McAfee 'certifies' that this site is safe then people will throw caution to the wind. I'm afraid that I believe that you are giving a false sense of security to people using your service as it is too easy to bypass.

       

      I'd love to hear your feedback and development plans though as I realise that this is just a Beta and you want feedback to improve the service offering.

        • 1. Re: A few problems?
          elbarbudo

          I completly agree with you.

          How did I discover mcaf.ee service ? BY SPAM!

          I got a lot of spam with such urls :

           

          http://mcaf.ee/0f8dc

          http://mcaf.ee/e5438

          http://mcaf.ee/6a302

          http://mcaf.ee/857fd

          ....

          all going to fake pharmacies.

           

          My very first idea was that this was a fake McAfee site..

          Unfortunatly this is not the case.

           

          This give me a very negative feeling about McAfee who claims to be a leader in the security market.

          And it is really counter productive.

          • 2. Re: A few problems?
            SafeBoot

            yeah - lots of discussions inhouse about links to spammy sites at the moment. The problem is, the sites don't host malware (or we've not yet scanned them for malware) so it's hard to justify blocking them.

             

            It would be a form of censorship so to speak. I mean, if we're going to block sites which are places you just don't want to go to, then perhaps we should block links to pornography, what about sites pertaining to certain religions, certain ethnic groups etc?

             

            Of course the first sites I'd want to block are those involving our competitors.

             

            But, seriously - what do you think we should do here? Are you SURE http://rxrefilltop.ru/ is a bad site? Maybe they are just good marketers? What grounds do we have to prevent them creating short links?

             

            NOTE: The rxefilltop.ru links were created today, 46 different ones, There have been 60 unique pageviews at time of writing.

             

             

            Message was edited by: SafeBoot on 10/19/10 12:58:47 PM EDT
            • 3. Re: A few problems?
              elbarbudo

              All these fake pharmacies are gently poisoning you...

               

              But, from a computer security point of view, they are mainly SPAM providers....

              So I think that they should be black-listed for that.

              • 4. Re: A few problems?
                SafeBoot

                this is the point of contention though - they don't cause any harm to your machine - so why would we block you from visiting them?

                • 5. Re: A few problems?

                  Perhaps you need an additional symbol to denote those sites involved in SPAM, but that don't contain malware.