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Google errors: url(data:image/png;base64…???

By Dale Reagan | May 3, 2013

Some curious 404 errors started showing up in ~2011 – based on some digging there is an attribution to Google tools?

In your log files you see something like:

“GET /url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUg…..5CYII%3d) HTTP/1.1”   OR

“GET /some_URL_path/url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUg…..5CYII%3d) HTTP/1.1”

The above type of encoding is described on Wikipedia.com as the data URI scheme – the objective for using such encoding is to improve web server response time by reducing the number of unique server calls to fetch small (image) files; just encode them in your HTML; the idea is similar to placing all Javascript in one file.  In some cases, using this approach may increase the total number of bytes being transferred since some forms of data (i.e. images) will be much require more bytes in any text-encoded format.

According the WikiPedia link (above), data URIs are supported only for the following elements and/or attributes:

As with any solution, there are trade-offs – there are a number of security concerns with this approach – I am not convinced that benefits out-weigh concerns…  A number of encoding examples are provided on the Wikipedia link including examples for:  images, CSS, Javascript, HTML, PHP. One of the warning signs for Open Source software are if it requires the inclusion of hidden/encoded code using this approach – if you use such code you could be compromising your server(s) or your site visitors – this is a noted problem with FREE themes and plugins for various Open Source projects.

<!----- encoded data between comment markers ------->
<div id="data-uri-test-2"></div>
<style type="text/css">
#data-uri-test-2 {
 width: 180px;
 height: 180px;
 background-image: url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAADgAAAAOCAYAAAB6pd%2buAAAAAXNSR0IArs4c6QAAAAZiS0dEAP8A%2fwD%2foL2nkwAAAAlwSFlzAAALEwAACxMBAJqcGAAAAAd0SU1FB9oGAhENK17O5ogAAAAZdEVYdENvbW1lbnQAQ3JlYXRlZCB3aXRoIEdJTVBXgQ4XAAAD6UlEQVRIx82WXWxTdRjGf6fndO3adbZ0VLoP9gFMXZQFNgSWDEkEYtSQkNVg4o2JH9NGJTMk6k01vTIhXshFzTCKE5NFORoXXDBs4nTMZHMzSETHDKyQyb7Xbu36dc7p8aaQZm5GNzd8rk7evOf%2fz%2fM%2bz%2f99X4E1htcn68v5742mffVRJd19uucqH539lSq3yKuHtlDmkPj99aPYe39kfRoMOqgCJHSdJNRL3AEE%2fB7h3xZFgO6JuRQdl6PE8zfRPzlF71CEojoXFc%2b9SPy3KxjCc%2bgCpIE0IilB65YWHFQBfAbUZEIDQGPA7xngDsNgMpFUY0Q0ESHHhKbkM3A9yoFqDceGQpTijWjhXxCAtC6gCWk0BAwLzqkAQsC6TJVDGcKrZdeDXp%2fcvki8zeuTH8uO6ehYzRJumxEUBUkyMa%2baUDWBVDLNnJJgNE9ixGZiOlckaQAVAWmBdTqBzqxQJ%2fD2KgrTCDzq9clywO%2fxZMi1AgcBBbhNPhyJ47TlsGuzjaHRSRRdoKq8AF3XOdvZw1BMQneUMl9iZN4eo3AmRWVwFulvqusAngBOryLBY0AcaPD65LeAFPAk0BLwe57OTnz3i4sc3ruFx2s24MwzoWgaW4tNnPn0JLt37KJ2zwGMgk5X3zd8ONJOX7mGvcK5OEGvT94HNGcs2rjSzrhUUwn4PV1AV4bcm5nwkYDfc3xhbs%2bVWQZH%2btlekc%2fDtRupKrub1uYT7NhWw9bde%2fl2REUSRR56pJT0lxofhM8xaheXVPA1oDPg9zT%2bExmsDqF8hUqmlvi%2bDUs6RWhW5Ov%2bKaxmK5XFLkIzIe7f%2fiBtwypPVZqIRWJ8Ny6x09OEJJs5rrTxn4yJY00NwRU0mtaMLY9kyL3n9clVAb%2fnley8wnyBkkIHrgILm925JGPTJONRDHqaHDQmx2a4Ph4hpFkpcZqZmBhHtbI4wYDfs3%2bNhn5bpqG03LKl1ydXAS97fXJ%2b9jv0Hq6lyK5C%2fBJ6PEjyj2nW2VQGLw5gLKqn92YSxWgjbrRy89ogVosFoyT%2bZUzcurjD65M71oDjCeDzbCIZ5VqAk9mJm9w5zAdPkRx%2bB3H6Y3Kj7TxQMkzLqfe5V71GvttFiduOa3aQc58E6JseJJXSEVhjeH2yvpxN5qVnygj%2fdJQCWxjBAOm0gVRC5MLPdoZnt2F3rsdisTAV7MBlusT3oVK6TOriCv4fIZnsSDlu1IQRNWVGV83kYKFuZzX7PQ1MFOg0j53nh%2bg8qpLg2eogeyJ53JFddDkLtyiZ6%2b%2b674Vu5cZXiIkJdAEMjnvIqzjEjVCS7rmrhOwC0Vwn58fqkIIXeL72Mn8CJn6UfKGeNt4AAAAASUVORK5CYII%3d);
}
</style>
<!------ Above sample from web logs -------------->


Encoded Red Dot Example

Red dot
Red Dot Above?


HTML Code for the Red Dot Above

<p style=”text-align: center;”><img src=”data:image/png;base64, iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAoAAAAKCAYAAACNMs+9AAAABGdBTUEAALGP C/xhBQAAAAlwSFlzAAALEwAACxMBAJqcGAAAAAd0SU1FB9YGARc5KB0XV+IA AAAddEVYdENvbW1lbnQAQ3JlYXRlZCB3aXRoIFRoZSBHSU1Q72QlbgAAAF1J REFUGNO9zL0NglAAxPEfdLTs4BZM4DIO4C7OwQg2JoQ9LE1exdlYvBBeZ7jq ch9//q1uH4TLzw4d6+ErXMMcXuHWxId3KOETnnXXV6MJpcq2MLaI97CER3N0 vr4MkhoXe0rZigAAAABJRU5ErkJggg==” alt=”Red dot” />

(Above code from Wikipedia link – check there for additional examples.)

Topics: System and Network Security, Web Problem Solving, Web Technologies | Comments Off on Google errors: url(data:image/png;base64…???

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