The Masquerade Party

Kurt Wismer is “a long time member of the anti-virus community”, a very knowledgeable computer scientist, and all around good guy. Bad guys don’t post things like links to movies of infrared pictures of farts now, do they? http://place-guid-here.blogspot.com/2007/01/have-you-ever-wondered.html.

 

I posted a link to a web site, noticed that there was a typo, fixed the typo, but didn’t notice that it didn’t really fix the link. Kurt posted a reply on the blog to let me know, for which I am grateful. It was the “href” that didn’t get fixed when the typo got fixed. I thought this would be a wonderful opportunity to graphically show you why you can’t trust what you see on the internet.

 

So, here is my example. Which of the following links will take you to Kurt Wismer’s “Antivirus Rant’s” blog? I promise it is safe to click on any of these links, but then the bad guys would tell you the same thing J

 

http:/anti-virus-rants.blogspot.com

http://anti-virus-rants.blogspot.com

http://anti-virus-rants.blogspot.com

http://anti-virus-rants.blogspot.com

 

Yes, it was the third one that was correct. The point of this is that people can make a link look like almost anything. Email addresses can be spoofed as well.

The internet can be a big masquerade party. Email that looks like it comes from your bank, with links that look like they point to your bank, may have come from a bot infected PC. If you click on the link you will end up at a web page that may look like your banks web page, but is not. Emails that say there is a problem with your eBay, PayPal, mortgage, or other account are usually from criminals. The links are usually only going to take you to dangerous web sites designed to infect your computer and/or steal your money.

 

I hope this little demonstration helps make you more aware of why it is you can’t just trust a link.

 

Randy Abrams

Director of Technical Education

Author ESET Research, ESET

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