Hyperlink audit in Chrome and Firefox browsers


Sometimes, novice or innocent users can be tricked into participating unintentionally if they send information to another resource. This can add a risk to privacy. For example, HTML5 added a feature to the web called Hyperlink audit. If you are not familiar with this feature, hyperlink auditing is added to a web page or created by a zone element with a ping attribute.

Hyperlink audit pings

It is normally used by sites to track link clicks but it has also been found to be misused by cyber criminals to forward the massive amount of web requests to the sites in an attempt to take them offline. So how do you turn off this feature in your Chromium Where Firefox Navigator? Let’s also try to answer some questions related to it.

We will proceed in 2 steps-

  1. Disable hyperlink auditing
  2. Determine if the hyperlink audit is good or bad

Hyperlink auditing is an HTML standard that allows the creation of special links that link to a specified URL when clicked. These pings are performed as a POST request to the specified web page which can then examine the request headers to see which page the link was clicked on.

1]Disable hyperlink auditing

Firefox is one of the few browsers that has the ping attribute disabled by default. You can verify this by opening the browser and looking at about: config> browser.send_pings input value. See the screenshot below for more information.

Chromium plans to remove this capability in future versions. However, you can still turn it off by opening chrome: // flags # disable-hyperlink-auditing and setting the flag to Disabled.

For your information in newer versions, the hyperlink ping tracking feature will be enabled by default, so you may not see these flags in your browser.

2]Is the hyperlink audit good or bad

There was a report some time earlier; he suggested that a new type of DDoS attack abuses the HTML5 Ping based hyperlink auditing feature.

The attack primarily involves users innocently visiting a web page designed with two external JavaScript files. One of them includes an array containing URLs (considered to be targets of the DDoS attack. The second JavaScript file had a function that randomly selected a URL from the array, created the tag with a “ping” attribute and programmatically clicked on the link every second. This allowed attackers to ping the target hyperlink audit while the webpage was open. As such, rather than a vulnerability, the attack relied on the transformation of a legitimate feature into an attack tool.

This is a worrying trend, and therefore auditing for hyperlinks is generally not considered a good idea.

Hyper-audit


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