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Stop Snip(.)pl and Snip(.)tw Referral Spam In Google Analytics

Snip(.)pl and Snip(.)tw are associated with referral spam that has been reported by spam researchers to impact data in Google Analytics. Experts strongly advise website publishers to swiftly filter out Snip(.)pl and Snip(.)tw since the domains are distributed with different URLs and reported to be dangerous. Users, visited the domain, should scan their devices with a specific anti-malware scanner to make sure their systems are secure.

NameSnip(.)pl and Snip(.)tw
TypeMalicious domain being spammed by Referral Spams
Short DescriptionThe domain may do various dangerous or unhealthy deeds to afeected PCs.
SymptomsOnce clicked on the spammed domain, the user may witness redirects to other potentially harmful domains.
Distribution MethodVia spamming software (Ghost Referrers or Crawlers)
Detection ToolDownload Malware Removal Tool, to See If Your System Has Been Affected by Snip(.)pl and Snip(.)tw
User ExperienceJoin our forum to discuss about Snip(.)pl and Snip(.)tw.

Snip(.)pl and Snip(.)tw Referral Spam – What is it

Referral spam is also known as Referrer Spam and it is an automated spam attack that is created to serve different purposes:

  • It aims to drive traffic to affiliate, vendor or other third-party sites.
  • In some cases, malware writers may use spam to infect users on a massive scale.
  • Targeted spam by the competition or for other interests.

Referral spammers have a goal mainly to generate hoax traffic that is non-organic to third-party sites which may be clients or the spammers themselves. Malware researchers warn users that the Snip(.)pl and Snip(.)tw threat is actual, and the some of its URLs may infect computers. It is highly recommended to take the necessary precautions since the referral spam tendency continues to grow and it`s at its peak at the start and the end of the year.

Furthermore, security experts outline the two primary spamming techniques that are employed by spammers at this moment:

Spam Technique #1: Web Crawlers’ Spam

Crawlers, also known as spiders spam in waves and they have the capability to corrupt the GA data in very small time frames. This affects mostly websites with statistical data that is low in numbers. The site administrator may witness sudden spikes of incoming traffic and increased bounce rates that are unusual. What is more, the spam can prevent the website`s admin to conduct analysis based on this data. And if this spam is on a massive scale and is sent simultaneously, it may even crash some low-end servers that do not have the proper spam defenses. However, the possibility to crash the site is way less than to devaluate your statistics and drive away your site visitors.

Finally, spammers that use crawlers have less aggressive behavior, and they may immediately stop spamming after they are warned once. However, beware because crawlers may be combined with other spamming software that may cause immense headaches to your sites.

Spam Technique #1: Ghost Referral Spam

Ghost Referral spam (known as Ghost Referrer) is the more widely chosen spamming software since it is reported to have a better outcome, especially in the hands of an experienced spammer. The spammers in the situation of Snip(.)pl and Snip(.)tw may use Ghost Referrers primarily because the spamming software can take advantage of the free HTTP connection passing through. This allows it to spam while not even to be present on the website. This allows it to remain concealed while spamming for longer periods of time, just like its name suggests – a ghost. This is very dangerous if it is in the hands of an experienced coders since they may have the ability to mask a whole HTTP session, resulting in complete concealment of the spam bots.

Snip(.)pl and Snip(.)tw referral spam may even have the ability to target different statistical data and hence affect how search results of your web page may appear in Google. The domains being featured in spammed messages continue to increase, and the only way for website publishers to protect themselves is to stay updated with the latest domains being flagged as spam domains.

Snip(.)tw and Snip(.)pl– More Information

The primary domain Snip(.)tw redirects to a website, called instatheme(.)com which may offer similar services to WordPress. Since the website may collect different information from users and share it with third-parties and its service also ad-supported.

snip(.)tw-redirect-sensorstechforum

Furthermore, Instatheme may collect different information from users and share it with third-party websites. Also, researchers have reasons to believe that the Snip(.)tw spam may also contain various URLs to it similar to the examples below:

19312snip(.)tw or snip(.)tw/23e92d20

It is highly recommended to keep your distance from such snip(.)tw domains as a user and in case you have visited them, you should check whether your PC is safe or not by scanning it for malware.

Regarding the Snip(.)pl domain, it represents an eBay auction helping service that may or may not be legitimate:

snip(.)pl-sensorstechforum

When the Snip domains were researched, the whois service displayed the following technical information which we were able to discover about the Snip(.)tw domain:

Snip(.)tw
IP Address: 64.13.237.217
Location: United States
City: Culver City, CA 90232
ISP: Media Temple

When the domain was researched further, the following domain names and their IP addresses popped up:

Snip(.)com (190.93.253.80)
Snip(.)net (209.204.64.47)
Snip(.)mobi (50.63.202.11)
Snip(.)cz (81.0.236.12)
Snip(.)de (212.16.232.253)
Snip(.)it (98.136.188.100)
Snip(.)kz (37.58.75.27)
Snip(.)ly (190.93.252.80; 190.93.253.80)
Snip(.)pl (212.75.96.84)
Snip(.)pt (5.10.82.120)
Snip(.)to

Similar to other notoriously spammed domain names such as the Russian erot(.)co (78.110.60.230) and erot(.)pl (94.23.29.144) this host has been actively reported on blacklisting sites for phishing attacks and other risky activities to the user PC.

Snip(.)pl and Snip(.)tw Referral Spam – How To Protect Yourself

If you have detected several spam comments, replies and others on your website linking to any snip domains it is strongly advisable to block them out using these instructions:

Security researchers suggest users to guide themselves by the following instructions for removing referral spam by Snip(.)pl and Snip(.)tw:

Method 1: Filtering Snip(.)pl and Snip(.)tw Spam in Google Analytics:

Step 1: Click on the ‘Admin’ tab on your GA web page.
Step 2: Choose which ‘View’ is to be filtered and then click the ‘Filters’ button.
Step 3: Click on ‘New Filter’.
Step 4: Write a name, such as ‘Spam Referrals’.
Step 5: On Filter Type choose Custom Filter –>Exclude Filter –> Field: Campaign Source–> Filter Pattern. Then on the Pattern, enter the domain name – Snip(.)pl and Snip(.)tw
Step 6: Select Views to Apply Filter.
Step 7: Save the filter, by clicking on the ‘Save’ button.
You are done! Congratulations!

Also, make sure you check out these several methods to help you further block out this referrer spam from google analytics:

https://sensorstechforum.com/exclude-all-hits-from-known-bots-and-spiders-in-google-analytics/

We have also researched the following methods to remove this spam:

Method 2: Block it from your server.

In case you have a server that is Apache HTTP Server, you may want to try the following commands to block Snip(.)tw and Snip(.)pl domains in the .htaccess file:

RewriteEngine on

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*snip \.com/ [NC,OR]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*snip \.ly/ [NC,OR]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*snip \.tw/ [NC,OR]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*snip \.pl/ [NC,OR]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.*snip \.net/ [NC,OR]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.* snip \.mobi/ [NC,OR]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.* snip \.it/ [NC,OR]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.* snip \.kz/ [NC,OR]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.* snip \.pt/ [NC,OR]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.* snip \.de/ [NC,OR]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^http://.* snip \-for\-website\.tw/ [NC,OR]

RewriteRule ^(.*)$ – [F,L]

DISCLAIMER: Some of the Snip domains listed above may not be associated in any way with referrer spam but for safety purposes it is recommended to block them out. It is the one who blocks them`s own responsibility to research the domains before taking any actions.

Also here is a web link to some spam URLs being blacklisted from other servers:

https://perishablepress.com/blacklist/ultimate-referrer-blacklist.txt

Disclaimer: This type of domain blocking in Apache servers has not yet been tested and it should be done by experienced professionals. Backup is always recommended.

Method 3 – Via WordPress

There is a method outlined by security researchers online that uses WordPress plugins to block referrer spams from sites. There are many plugins that help deal with referrer spam, simply do a google search. We have currently seen one particular plugin reported to work, called WP-Ban, but bear in mind that you may find an equally good or better. WP-Ban has the ability to block users based on their IP address stated above in the article and other information such as the URL, for example.

If you are a user and you continue to be redirected by to this annoying website or keep seeing advertisements on your PC, it is highly recommended to use an advanced anti-malware program to see if your computer hasn’t been infected with malware or other threats related to Snip domains. By doing so you also make sure you are protected by any future intrusions on your machine.

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Spy Hunter scanner will only detect the threat. If you want the threat to be automatically removed, you need to purchase the full version of the anti-malware tool.Find Out More About SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool / How to Uninstall SpyHunter

Vencislav Krustev

A network administrator and malware researcher at SensorsTechForum with passion for discovery of new shifts and innovations in cyber security. Strong believer in basic education of every user towards online safety.

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