Google wants to get rid of URLs but doesn’t know what to use instead

Google wants to get rid of URLs but doesn’t know what to use instead

Their complexity makes them a security hazard; their ubiquity makes replacement nigh impossible.

Sometimes URLs are explicitly typed by users; other times they’re opaque and hidden behind hyperlinks. Some URLs are good for sharing, others aren’t. Sometimes they’re shown on devices with abundant screen space, other times they’re so cramped that only a fragment of the URL can ever be seen.

IDN homograph attack

An example of an IDN homograph attack; the Latin letters ”e” and ”a” are replaced with the Cyrillic letters ”е” and ”а”.

The internationalized domain name (IDN) homograph attack is a way a malicious party may deceive computer users about what remote system they are communicating with, by exploiting the fact that many different characters look alike (i.e., they are homographs, hence the term for the attack, although technically homoglyph is the more accurate term for different characters that look alike). For example, a regular user of may be lured to click a link where the Latin character ”a” is replaced with the Cyrillic character ”а”.

This kind of spoofing attack is also known as script spoofingUnicode incorporates numerous writing systems, and, for a number of reasons, similar-looking characters such as Greek Ο, Latin O, and Cyrillic О were not assigned the same code. Their incorrect or malicious usage is a possibility for security attacks.


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