Brian Krebs had an interesting report over at the Washington Post that cited a report from Indiana.edu about how redirects are in quite an abundance. Well, anyone who has worked in this field for any length of time should know that perfectly well, but it’s still interesting to get some validation from the researchers at Indiana.edu who specialize in anti-phishing research. Here’s the rub from Brian’s article:
Indeed, some of the Internet’s biggest Web sites — particularly Google — used to host large numbers of open redirects.
“Used to”? I know I’ve laid it on thick over the last few years, but I’m amazed people still think Google has somehow magically fixed problems that it never got around to fixing. Redirects are not fixed, XSS is not fixed. These issues still exist all over Google and Google’s web properties. But in case someone doesn’t believe me, here’s an example I whipped up in about 10 seconds that redirects to a random eBay auction from Google’s image server as a for instance (make sure you enable JS for the full effect).
It’s good to see people are finally understanding this in the main stream media, but let’s not give credit to companies that are clearly undeserving of it (both historically and currently). I’ll be the first one to stand up and give applause when we see these issues closed once and for all on Google even if it truly is just one company out of the vast untold wealth of sites out there that are vulnerable. But if it really is aiding phishers - and it is - the only way we are going to get ahead of it is by taking responsibility for our own sites. That’s especially true if we intend to be the be all end all of trustworthy advertising giants that Google aims to be.