[unisog] CSS Web Bugs

Joseph Brennan brennan at columbia.edu
Wed Dec 8 17:48:25 GMT 2004

In case you think you can escape "web bugs" in email by turning
off images, check this out.

WGBH (of all organizations!) is sending mail with this interesting
sort of link at the top of their HTML mail:

<link href="http://t.gbhmail.com/a/4700/b/3200/c/8000/u/imwatchingyou"
  rel="stylesheet" type="text/css">

It looks like html formatting.  But it is a 1x1 gif.

I munged the above.  The u/string identifies the lucky recipient.
Any string seems to work.  We will have to wonder what factors
a/number b/number c/number represent but one must alert them to
what message you are reading.  I made up the numbers above.

They use the same plan in IMG tags, but that's an old one and I
would not have mentioned it.  I never noticed fake stylesheet links
before.  But maybe I lead a sheltered life.

If you supply an incomplete string, it thinks for a minute and
then redirects you to Google!

Joseph Brennan
Academic Technologies Group, Academic Information Systems (AcIS)
Columbia University in the City of New York

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