Spammers create their own URL shortening services

Posted in: Spam at 26/10/2011 20:03

[IDG] Spammers have created their own services to shorten URLs (uniform resource locators) in an apparent attempt to circumvent security measures in place at well-known shortening websites, according to Symantec.

So far, some 87 URL shortening sites have been set up by spammers, said Nick Johnston, a senior software engineer at Symantec. The spammers have used an open-source URL shortening script and have not built the code themselves. The shortened links are only appearing in spam emails that advertise pharmaceutical products at sites such as "Pharmacy Express," he said.

Also see:

URL-Shortening Service Sites: Symantec discovers spammers leaving their own URL-shortening services open to the public
URL shorteners have become a popular tool for spammers to hide their spam sites, but now there's a spam gang with at least 80 public URL-shortening service websites open for anyone to use.

Researchers at Symantec, who discovered the URL-shortening websites this month, say they use the ".info." domain. "However, unlike the URL shortening sites we discovered in May, these sites are effectively public URL shortening sites. Anyone can create a shortened URL on these sites; the form to do so is also publicly available," the Symantec Intelligence Report for October 2011 says. "Spammers are using a free, open source URL shortening scripts to operate these sites. At the time of writing, 87 different domains were identified as being used in this fashion."

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