xkcd "Garden" a social engineering prank?

A place to sit back, relax, get to know each other, and talk about whatever you want to discuss or share with the group.
Forum rules
Please be sure to check the Rules & Guidelines

xkcd "Garden" a social engineering prank?

Postby Natural ChemE on April 13th, 2016, 7:31 am 

xkcd's April Fool's comic is called Garden, discussed in this wiki article.

The gist is that this comic has active content, best viewed in Firefox (problems in IE and Chrome). You can adjust three lamps: their positions, light cones, and light colors. Over time, plants and other objects may emerge based on the light from the lamps. You can return to your garden after closing the browser by saving the full URL, which includes a globally unique identifier (GUID).

This GUID can also be used to share the garden with friends, e.g. by posting it on social media. This is noted in xkcd's header for all comics:
xkcd's header wrote:Protip: If you don't like how your garden is growing, you can click to prune it.
Copy the URL to save/share (garden will be view-only from other browsers.)

I thought it'd be neat to share some gardens on Facebook, but it hit me that xkcd probably has my IP address matched to the GUID in its database. If I post my GUID's on Facebook or other social media, then xkcd's successfully mapped my IP - and thus my location and service provider - to my real identity. xkcd can just have a text-mining algorithm search social media for xkcd links to match the GUID's to the corresponding poster.

I really don't think that xkcd's a malicious site, so I'm definitely not suggesting some evil conspiracy plot. However, as far as an April Fool's joke goes, it'd be a pretty epic social engineering prank! It used to be the case that computer viruses were primarily from bugs in security flaws in software, but now computer viruses and other security threats largely result from social engineering attacks - which most tech-savvy folks consider themselves too smart to fall for.

So, I wonder if xkcd's pulled off an epic prank? That'll teach us to sanitize our social media inputs!
Natural ChemE
Forum Moderator
 
Posts: 2754
Joined: 28 Dec 2009


Return to Lounge Area

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 14 guests