Date: Thursday April 24 2008, @07:34PM
Topic: Laugh (or Cry)
Ryan Singel, writing for WiReD's Threat Level weblog (can we please go back to that term?), reports on yet another dubious innovation that's part typosquatting, part phishing:
[S]tarting in August 2006, Earthlink instead intercepts that Non-Existent Domain (NXDOMAIN) response and sends the IP address of ad-partner Barefruit's server as the answer. When the browser visits that page, the user sees a list of suggestions for what site the user might have actually wanted, along with a search box and Yahoo ads.
The rub comes when a user is asking for a nonexistent subdomain of a real website, such as http://webmale.google.com, where the subdomain webmale doesn't exist.... In this case, the Earthlink/Barefruit ads appear in the browser....
It gets worse:
The hacker could, for example, send spam e-mails to Earthlink subscribers with a link to a webpage on money.paypal.com. Visiting that link would take the victim to the hacker's site, and it would look as though they were on a real PayPal page.
Paul Vixie politely describes this as a "problem exacerbated by inappropriate monetization of certain DNS features." And if the Pentagon distorted GPS signals to bidders on a first-come, first-served basis—say, off the Somalian coast or in the Strait of Malacca—that would be "an inappropriate monetization of certain GPS features."
Unfortunately, the problem isn't limited to Earthlink.
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