Strider URL Tracer With Typo-Patrol
There are lot of ways online attackers can get information from you. They can attempt to install malware on your computer or they might just send you popups. Anyone who has spent any time on the Web has experienced at least one of these annoyances, if not all of them. Well, as you know, here at WorldStart, we try to arm and inform our readers with what’s going on in the world of online security and this week is no different.
On April 7, 2006, Microsoft introduced another component to their growing security suite in hopes of protecting users from Typo-Squatting and Web site redirection to third party sites. The Strider URL Tracer with Typo-Patrol or SUTTP, as I’m calling it, is a program that will help any end user, whether it be in a commercial enterprise or in a home, to recognize and manage access to harmful Web sites.
The SUTTP is actually two tools in one. One is the URL Tracker and it is there to warn you of any third party sites that your browser may be instructed to go to without your knowledge. This sort of redirection is a common way in which online threats can attempt to install malware on your system. Although these types of attacks have been around for years, they have recently become increasingly popular, as a way to circumnavigate your system’s defenses.
The second tool is made to protect your system from typo-squatters, which are Web sites that lie in wait with a similar name to one that may be highly regarded. These attaches often spring to action when someone figures out a Web address. These are mostly found in the form of popups and pop unders. The popups come from all kinds of businesses; from reputable companies like Yahoo and Google to sleazy porn sites. For instance, let’s say your kid is surfing the Web and he/she misspells a Web site’s name. They get the surprise of their lives (not to mention you) when they are directed to some other site. And by the time they figure out what went wrong, there is probably at least some sort of spyware on your system.
The SUTTP is designed to help stop these kinds of attacks by monitoring Web site redirects and allowing you to create and manage lists of potential typo-squatters. The tool is only in the beta form right now, like most of Microsoft’s security software, but it is really cool to see in action.
Here’s a run down of what SUTTP can do:
- Can generate and scan lists of misspelled Web addresses for any signs of typo-squatting.
- You can select the Top Domain button at the end of a scan to see what companies are more heavily involved with theses sites (you may be surprised at some of them).
- Can save and print out the report at the end of the process.
- This does the same as the Typo-Patrol, but works more with words that are similar in meaning. An example of this would be the Web site http://microsoftserver2003.com/ ,which isn’t misspelled, but is not a legitimate Microsoft site either. Domain Patrol helps you figure out what is safe and what domains are hiding something.
- Can pull up Internet Explorer History and scan individual entries, which is great for seeing where other people have been on your PC, so you can block out any sites you don’t like.
Expose Third Party Cookies and Web Beacons:
- Can systematically expose cookies and Web beacons, allowing you to decide whether or not this site is worth the trouble.
This is a really cool security program. I loved watching it work, because it really lets you see what a Web site’s full intentions are and it gives you the tools to do something about it.
Strider URL Tracker with Typo-Patrol is a tool that will give you more flexibility with what sites your browser will allow. It also reveals a lot about what goes on behind the scenes of any Web site, taking the element of stealth away from would be attackers.
SUTTP is only for Windows XP, so I apologize to everyone else. It has an incredible online Getting Started walk through that explains everything to you in easy to understand terms. In addition to this, there are types of recourses to help clarify what exactly these tools do, how they do it and why you should do it.
With all that being said, the SUTTP is a unique and interesting tool, which you may want to include in your personal arsenal against online security threats.
You can download the Strider URL Tracker with Typo-Patrol here.
Until next week, stay safe out there.
~ Chad Stelnicki