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Author Topic: How to subvert Big Brother's blocking of URL shorteners?  (Read 3628 times)

barney

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How to subvert Big Brother's blocking of URL shorteners?
« on: April 19, 2009, 08:03:53 AM »
Folk,

I've just had to reinstall Win (XP Media edition, SP3).  It's on a new 1TB HD on a 185 GB partition.  Not much has been installed so far, just the [kinda, sorta] bare essentials.  However, a problem has reared its ugly head:  the inability to access sites from shortened links.  For instance, if I click http://tinyurl.com/d7d3av, Firefox errors with, "The connection to the server was reset while the page was loading.  The network link was interrupted while negotiating a connection. Please try again."  (Note, IE v7.0.5730.13 chokes also, but with different error, and I've been having other problems with it, as well, so cannot say at this time whether it is affected by this problem.  It seems to be, but cannot be certain.)

Did a couple of quick searches, but nothing found was applicable.

This has happened often enough in the last few days to be seen as some software helping, or protecting me.  Question is, which one(s)?

Zone Alarm Pro is installed, as is Avira AntiVir (free), both of which recently updated.  Also have several Firefox extensions which recently updated, but don't have any idea which ones - perhaps a dozen or so over the last few days.  These seem the most likely culprits to me, but I don't have a really good way to test which one is saving me from myself.  Or, to discover what other piece of software might be so solicitous of my online health.

Part of the problem is that not every shortened URL is affected.  So even the basic method of shutting one of the suspects down to see if there is a change is problematic ... futile, as well, if I'm wrong about the program(s) causing the problem.

Anyone have an idea or three of where/how to start?  I'd really hate for this to take a month or two to resolve.

'Preciate any thoughts on this.

app103

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Re: How to subvert Big Brother's blocking of URL shorteners?
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2009, 08:17:22 AM »
I don't think Avira is the cause, since I am using that myself and I have no issues with any shortened urls.

While this won't help you discover the cause of your problem, you could try this greasemonkey script and see if it helps: http://userscripts.o...g/scripts/show/40582

It works with 88 different URL shortening services and will replace all the short urls on pages, with the real url. That way, you bypass the shortening services and go directly to the sites. (and you'll know exactly where you are going before you click)

cranioscopical

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Re: How to subvert Big Brother's blocking of URL shorteners?
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2009, 09:21:11 AM »
I found that if the Avira web guard thing is active that does have a severely negative impact on browsing.
Try turning that off.
(I refer to version 9.)
« Last Edit: April 19, 2009, 12:37:43 PM by cranioscopical »

barney

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Re: How to subvert Big Brother's blocking of URL shorteners?
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2009, 10:33:46 AM »
app103, the GreaseMonkey script doesn't work, nor does the InterClue Firefox extension ... problem seems to be that access to the shorting site is blocked.

cranioscopical, while I'm using v9, I don't find any reference to a Web Guard.  Maybe not in the free version?  Or, I'm just too dim to see it <chortle />.

Forgot to mention earlier, Firefox is v3.08, and Avira is v9.0.0.387.  Also should mention that I cannot [currently] access tinyurl.com directly.  However, I can access is.gd, another shortening service.

Just for grins I tuned off the anti-phishing element of Avira, but it didn't make a difference.

cranioscopical

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Re: How to subvert Big Brother's blocking of URL shorteners?
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2009, 10:45:56 AM »
cranioscopical, while I'm using v9, I don't find any reference to a Web Guard.  Maybe not in the free version?  Or, I'm just too dim to see it
Oh, I don't know if it's in the free version, probably not. From my perspective you're not missing out if it's absent :)
FWIW, 3.0.8 is okay with tinyURL from here.

I'm sure someone will pitch in soon with some help.

 

app103

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Re: How to subvert Big Brother's blocking of URL shorteners?
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2009, 11:08:02 AM »
I have Avira 9, free version, and it does not contain any sort of Web Guard, nor does it block or interfere with shortened url's.

Have you tried enabling the windows firewall and shutting off the Zone Alarm one to see if it makes a difference?

Zone Alarm is notorious for interfering with accessing sites. The first 6 months I had a GMail account I couldn't use it because Zone Alarm was interfering with any & all IE based browsers logging into GMail. It was my initial reason for trying Firefox for the very first time.

barney

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RESOLVED - Re: How to subvert Big Brother's blocking of URL shorteners?
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2009, 12:40:02 PM »
Been a long time since I actually worked with ZA conifigs ... last time I did, there wasn't any spy site blocking.  I've just been doing automatic upgrades and using existing config.  Yeah, I know ... slovenly at best, and downright careless.  Oh, well, we live and, after getting hurt, learn.

The spy site blocking had four different URL shortening sites listed ... dunno why not all of 'em.  Marked the site as OK, and all seems well with the world.  At least I'll know where to look next time.  I just hate learning this way <sigh />.

Thanks, all ... ye've saved me much grief, methinks.

app103

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Re: How to subvert Big Brother's blocking of URL shorteners?
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2009, 02:03:20 PM »
It's not just spy site blocking that Zone Alarm does. It also injects code into every page in your browser (at least it did last time I used it) and the scripts that code contains can sometimes clash badly with legitimate js scripts used on a page.

4wd

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Re: How to subvert Big Brother's blocking of URL shorteners?
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2009, 05:43:31 PM »
It's not just spy site blocking that Zone Alarm does. It also injects code into every page in your browser (at least it did last time I used it) and the scripts that code contains can sometimes clash badly with legitimate js scripts used on a page.

Just one reason why I no longer use it, (even though I had two paid licenses for ZA Pro), another was how much the later versions all seemed to impact network throughput, (especially increasing my game lag - that's a NO NO!!), and just generally bog down the whole system - even when all the crap except for the basic firewall was turned off.

Jimdoria

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Re: How to subvert Big Brother's blocking of URL shorteners?
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2009, 11:15:10 AM »
Just a thought - but is it possible you've got some kind of a bug that is interfering with your browsing? I know Conficker includes a component that blocks access to anti-virus and anti-spyware websites. Can you visit the main vendors (symantec, microsoft, etc.) without a problem?

You might also want to double-check your HOSTS file, and if you use Ad Block Plus in Firefox, try checking its config or disabling it.
- Jimdoria ~@>@

There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who divide everybody into two kinds of people, and those who don't.

bob99

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Re: How to subvert Big Brother's blocking of URL shorteners?
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2009, 03:41:41 PM »
From what I read and am experiencing with ZA, tinyurl is considered a big source of malware by ZA and blocked by default.
Here is a link to one of the ZA forum pages someone has provided their solution.

http://forums.zoneal...uery.id=59910#M20224

When you search the ZA forum for tinyurl a number of posts are brought up with other explanations why and other workarounds.  Could even be one better than the above I haven't seen yet.