Blog trackback technology heisted by spammers

Blog owners and Web site administrators have been warned about the growing risk of trackback spam, following reports that a Filipino online news service - newsbreak.com.ph - found over 27,000 links to adult and porno pages had been posted on its site.

Newsbreak was hit by a flood of links to the illicit sites posted by unknown spammers. The site has now suspended its trackback feature and users are asked to log into the system before posting comments.

Trackbacks, in case you were wondering, are a technology used to allow blog authors to observe who has seen and linked to their postings.

The system, which also enables readers to easily locate Web postings related to the subject matter, is thought to be flawed in allowing spammers to connect themselves automatically via trackbacks to postings on legitimate blogs, in the hope of directing surfers to their own sites.

According to IT security vendor Sophos, trackback spamming can overwhelm a blog server, making it equivalent to a distributed denial of service attack.

Graham Cluley (he's back! -Ed), Sophos' senior technology consultant, said that trackback and comment spam, like email spam, is a real pain, and can hit newcomers to blogging as well as established sites like Newsbreak.

"No one wants to find their blog hammered with nuisance comments pointing to online drugstores, adult sites or bogus financial advice - not only will your blog then help boost the popularity of these unsavoury sites, but you may also be in danger of damaging your reputation with Web visitors," he said...