Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama battle it out on all fronts, literally. The tight contest, where until now no clear frontrunner emerges, isn’t likely to be dictated by just the debates. So we see extra-political battles in different arenas. The Web would seem one likely sphere where the one hopeful nominee who dominates gains a lot.
The most recent Internet-related clash between these two involved redirection: one candidate’s Web site leads users to the site of the other. Users viewing Obama’s site were redirected to Clinton’s through an attack called cross-site scripting (XSS). Researchers were successful in reversing the attack, too, exploiting vulnerabilities and revealing these glitches to the site owners.
Internet-related incidents are not new in the coming U.S. presidential elections. TrendLabs, as early as November last year, reported on spamming activities that were seen as campaign materials for Ron Paul. Clinton herself was featured in a spam run that spewed malware into systems, turning them into bots to further spread spam.
This time, however, the cross-site scripting attacks are seen as benign as no malware were involved. With the increasing hype around spamming and other malicious activities, this might be a move driven by caution. Those who do it may have realized that malicious activities, once exposed, will inevitably taint individuals and their appearances to the media, or to everyone in general.
Researchers are still investigating how this type of attack could be used in more malicious criminal activity.