This seems pretty scary. Apparently the FBI posted a link on some online forum that claimed to display kiddy porn. The story is here.
Upon reading this the first thing that popped into my mind was CSRF(Cross Site Request Forgery) Now this is not classic CSRF since CSRF generally implies I am exercising some functionality on the target site. I am using CSRF as a handy term for “if you visit a page I control content on I can make you request any other link I want”. Now remeber this is not only pages like this blog where I clearly control the content, but any other place I can provide links, usually to images. Social networking sites, forums, image hosting sites and even in email signatures.
This is an even better scam than the now famous 911 swatting scams. Now instead of SWAT busting in to rescue you the FBI bust in to arrest you. What great fun! It will be interesting to see how many of these stick. It seems to be based on some pretty flimsy evidenc. The article above points out that open wireless networks are just one way someone could fool the system. CSRF is better because your browser will actually go to the page and a forensics examination of your machine will show that you went there. Not a good position to be in in court with a jury and often times judge with no technical background at all.
Update from my buddy Zeno: The file that keeps track of places IE has been, index.dat, does not log refers and apparently that file and it’s contents have held up in court…