Here in the Caribbean we are “surviving” hurricane Earl, so the IRW issue has been delayed. This and the upcoming two  issues will be a give away about different type of inverted index architectures and fast indexing techniques.  This is what I plan to cover:

Part One:    Inverted Index Types

Part Two:    Fast Indexing Techniques

Part Three:  Fast Posting Lists Intersecting & Sharding

The QA section will cover redirection harvesting. I’m going to do now something not done before: releasing the QA section in advanced, so those not subscribed to IRW will realize what they are missing.

Q: What is Redirection Harvesting?

A: Redirection harvesting is a phishing technique wherein a hacker or spammer identifies a trusted site that redirects users to specific pages by appending name-value commands to the redirection mechanism.

The mechanism is often a form or a URL without a security layer for filtering appended URLs. The idea is to replace the landing URL with the hacker or spammer’s URL which is often obfuscated.

Although it no longer works, the best known example of this was due to Ebay. For details, check http://www.google.com/search?q=ebay+redirections

The URL mechanism abused was

http://cgi4.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?MfcISAPICommand=RedirectToDomain&
DomainUrl=obfuscatedURLgoeshere

Note that a trusted site (Ebay) is the one doing the redirection.

Naïve or unaware users receiving an email with such doctored URLs might think these belong to Ebay and that it will redirect to a page within EBay when in fact it takes users to a malicious page. Once there, users are exposed to all kind of attacks.

Many large and popular sites, including educational and government sites, are still guilty of allowing this to happen. The lesson here is that redirection mechanisms without URL filtering layers can and will be abused.