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Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Theft Quadrants
TinyURL was the most popular link shortener for long enough that it made it into a lot of printed publications. I wonder what year the domain will finally lapse and get picked up by a porn site.
Title text: TinyURL was the most popular link shortener for long enough that it made it into a lot of printed publications. I wonder what year the domain will finally lapse and get picked up by a porn site.


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: How difficult is it to steal TinyURL, really? Is it a real problem?

It is hard to steal nuclear launch codes. That's a good thing, too, since they could be used to start a nuclear war.

It is also hard to steal the crown jewels, since they are protected by a complex security system. But if they were stolen, it wouldn't be so bad for most people.

It wouldn't be hard to steal the Wienermobile (a car shaped like a hot-dog, advertising the Oscar Mayer brand), and there would be little consequence if it were stolen.

It wouldn't be hard to steal the domain name, but the consequences of that could be significant.

TinyURL offer a url shortening service. They provide short URLs that redirect to long ones. This is useful if you want to write down a very long URL as it saves typing and is more accurate. Other companies including offer a similar service, as do Google and Twitter. TinyURL was, for a while, the most popular of these URL shortening services. If their domain name were stolen, all the redirects from short URLs could be changed to forward traffic to sites hosting, for example, malware. This would have significant effects on a large number of people.

Domain hijacking is relatively common. If a cracker can obtain personal information about the domain owner, they can impersonate them to the domain registrar, and obtain control of the domain, and with that control defraud a large number of people.

As the title text notes, sites can be particularly vulnerable if they do not maintain their web site, as the registrar is free then to sell the same domain to any third party. A whois search as of June 2016 finds that the domain is next due for renewal in June 2018.

Randall has written about stealing the Wienermobile before in 935: Missed Connections.


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Added basic transcript. Please improve on it by editing it.
How hard thing would be to steal Hard The Crown Jewels The Nuclear Launch Codes
Easy The Oscar Mayer Weinermobile The Domain Name
Not that bad Very bad
How bad it would be if someone stole it

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