Hackers are targeting websites and blogs by exploiting the trackback feature to launch spam attacks, experts have warned.

A Filipino online news agency, Newsbreak, was hit with 27,000 pornographic links from its website.  The newswire has now suspended the trackback feature of its site, according to reports.

Trackback technology allows blog writers to check who has been viewing and inserting links to their postings.  But, this function has been used by spammers, who can connect automatically via this feature to postings on legitimate blogs, in order to direct users to the illegal sites.

The tool can also be used to trigger a denial of service (DDos) attack by overwhelming the blog server.

“Trackback and comment spam, like email spam, are a real pain, and can hit newcomers to blogging as well as established websites like Newsbreak,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos.  

“No one wants to find their blog hammered with nuisance comments.  You may also be in danger of damaging your reputation with web visitors.  It’s a shame that innovative technology, like trackback, should be so widely abused.”