Spiga

Click the wrong link and wind up in jail

In the 10 Things blog, Deb Shinder recently pointed out 10 ways you might be breaking the law with your computer and not even know it. There’s yet another way that wasn’t mentioned in that article. Specifically it has to do with recent arrests made by the FBI in suspected child pornography cases.

As has been reported in News.com and elsewhere, the FBI has been recently employing fake Web sites to lure people into child pornography. A suspect doesn’t have to have any child pornography on his computer either. Merely clicking the link is enough to trigger an investigation, search warrants, and the resultant perp walk, whether or not there was any intent to indeed consume child pornography as part of the clicking.

Improbable cause


But what if the user didn’t know the images were on the computer? Or what if the user didn’t know what the Web site was before it was clicked?

Sorry. That doesn’t count. The link got clicked. The images are on the computer. Go to jail. Go directly to jail. Don’t pass Go. Don’t collect $200.

Certainly such a thing wouldn’t happen, right? The only way someone could go to a kiddie porn site was to find the link and intentionally click it. As an IT leader you do, or should, know better.

There are many, many different ways users can be tricked into clicking things or winding up on sites they shouldn’t have. First, there’s the obvious things that can happen when viruses or other malware redirect browsers to go places they’re not supposed to. Someone could program a simple redirect in a Web site, maybe through something as simple as a clear gif, forwarding a browser to the target Web site. Even something as simple as creating a link in TinyURL that points to the site.

TinyURL is especially dangerous, because there’s no way to know exactly what the destination address is before the user goes there. It could be an easy tool for one user to use against another as a cruel joke or some form of retaliation.

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1 comments:

  L. Venkata Subramaniam

June 29, 2008 at 9:38 PM

Interesting article! It is interesting that they lure you and then catch you.

But you are right it we all know one can easily be lead there without ones knowledge, as strange as that may sound!