back to article Googlewhack trick used to slip junk mail past spam filters

Advanced features in Google's search engine are being used by spammers to disguise the URLs of spamvertised sites. Hackers have been using Google search functions to hunt for vulnerabilities. Now their peers in the junk mail business are getting into the act, Symantec reports. Google supports a variety of advanced query words …


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  1. Quinten Lansu
    Paris Hilton

    Well this is awfully WWI...

    Looks like the trench wars of spam are still going.

  2. Andrew Heenan

    Slow, Slow Symantec

    These 'search result' URLs have been appearing for at least 6 months, and have been blocked - at least by gmail - for much of that time.

    Where have Symantec been?

  3. Paul Stevens


    Brightmail couldn't spot a spammy mail if it slapped them in the face. $60-million world wide sales in a pretty lucrative market space is a piss poor effort. Develop new technology indeed. Pfft.

    As for the junk mailing scum who infest the ether, I wish it was legal to shoot the bastards. Open season on the ROCSO list.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    I guess that's the end of tinyurl then.

    I guess that's the end of tinyurl then.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Reverse Engineering ???

    If you look at the Symantec link, they mention they did some reverse engineering. What was the reverse engineering which their scientists did you wonder?

    Take out the "%22&btnI=" at the end of the url

    Brilliant !!!

  6. Trinity


    Is this why my earlier search for "aubergine" got this?

    "We're sorry...

    ... but your query looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application. To protect our users, we can't process your request right now. "

    (BTW: How about giving us the option of an icon that looks like someone banging their head on the desk? )

  7. Benedict


    Are you using a web proxy at all? I've encountered the same error when searching google through a proxy.

  8. El Veg

    Re: I guess that's the end of tinyurl then.

    Here's an alternative that avoids the disguising feature of tinyurl AND also eliminates accidental clicks on links while avoiding having to memorize and retype complicated URLs - telldodo. (for example, tell dodo: kentucky button suspense)

  9. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    The nice thing about my spam filter

    is that it evolves a lot faster than Symantec (anyone surprised ? thought not).

    Any sender that is not on my whitelist get his mail sent to the spam bin. In the spam bin, any string that corresponds to anything I have previously flagged gets the mail deleted permanently.

    End of story.

    I haven't seen any of these reselling jokes since I flagged it five months ago. Besides, I don't click on links sent to me by people I don't know.

  10. Dave Aitken
    Jobs Halo

    preview feature in tinyurl

    "The following URL:

    has a length of 52 characters and resulted in the following TinyURL which has a length of 25 characters:

    Or, give your recipients confidence with a preview TinyURL:"

    OK for tinyurl among friends; no guarantee, of course, for links from strangers.

    Remember: don't take sweeties from strange men

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