mailing list archives
Re: Netscape Referer header considered harmful?
From: hallam () AI MIT EDU (Phillip M Hallam-Baker)
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 1997 10:35:48 -0400
Maybe, but lets hope that Netscape does not tsake this as
indicating it isn't a bug, it is.
From: Crewdson, Andy <crewdsoa () MAGIC DCRT NIH GOV>
To: BUGTRAQ () NETSPACE ORG <BUGTRAQ () NETSPACE ORG>
Date: 07 August 1997 09:44
Subject: Re: Netscape Referer header considered harmful?
In response to your question about when the HTTP_REFERER with the
"file:///" string is sent:
In Netscape Communicator 4.01a (NT4), the value is present in
HTTP_REFERER only when the user clicks on the link in their bookmark.htm
file. The "file:///" referer value is not passed when they choose a
bookmark from the Bookmarks menu. A link chosen from the Bookmarks menu
sends an empty HTTP_REFERER value.
From: Ronald L. Parker [SMTP:ron () FARMWORKS COM]
Sent: Monday, August 04, 1997 11:10 AM
To: BUGTRAQ () NETSPACE ORG
Subject: Netscape Referer header considered harmful?
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I found something I consider mildly disturbing while browsing my
referer log stats today. Viewers to our site today have been
from the following URLs:
As you can see, this is a cross-platform problem. What I don't
is whether these were sent by people just picking the bookmark
the dropdown or by people using their bookmarks file as a home
Not having Communicator myself, and not planning to get it any
soon, I can't test this. In any case, file: URLs should be
The last one is particularly interesting, given that it can be
correlated with an IP address. I don't know what you call your
bookmarks, but mine are called "Ron Parker's Bookmarks," based
think) on my identity as told to the mail/news subsystem. So,
been cutting-edge enough to use Netscape 4.0, I would now be
my full name to every site in my bookmarks file.
Of course, this can also lead to my knowing into exactly which
directory you've installed Communicator. This could be useful
information as well, and could help to mount an attack on your
private email or the list of newsgroups to which you subscribe.
In addition, again given that I have your IP address to work
might now know something about the internal network structure of
organization (not exemplified by any of the above sites, but
about where you would store your bookmarks if you were using a
diskless workstation. Would you be giving me a machine name or
drive letter?) This information could be invaluable as part of
attempt to bypass your firewall.
Farm Works Software Come see us at
For PGP public key see
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