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Fusker is a type of website or utility that extracts images from a web page, typically from free hosted galleries. Fusker software allows users to identify a sequence of images with a single pattern, for example:


This would identify images pic1.jpg, pic2.jpg, through pic16.jpg.

When this pattern is given to a fusker website, the website would produce a page that displays all sixteen images in that range. Patterns can also contain lists of words, such as http://www.example.com/images/{small,medium,big}.jpg, which will produce three urls, each with one word from the bracketed list. The web page is then presented to the person who entered the fusker, and can also be saved on the fusker web server so that other people may view it.


[edit] Fusker implementations

Server-side fusker software extracts content (e.g. image or video) from its original location and displays it in a new page on the client-side (user's web browser). Content is separated from the surrounding information that the content host may have intended (e.g. links to affiliates or pay-per-click ads). However, the content is not downloaded locally to the client by the fusker server; the new page that the fusker server produces instructs the client web browser to retrieve each piece of content from the content host web server and display it in the new page. This can lead to excessive internet bandwidth usage and waste. Many server-side implementations of the Fusker technology are available on the web.

In addition, a fusker can also be implemented as client software that completely bypasses the need for a third-party fusker web site. By eliminating the need to fusker via a web site, the need to use a web browser is also eliminated. Due to not using a web browser, fusker client software will often store downloaded content locally on the client machine. This reduces Internet bandwidth usage since fusker client software, unlike a web browser, only retrieves content once. Fusker client software is able to do this because it can effectively emulate a web browser; referer headers are rewritten to an acceptable value, and more complex implementations can also emulate a web browser to the point of being able to click links and login to accounts. However, just like server-based fuskers, client software fuskers also separate content from its original surroundings, which may have included advertisements on the content host's web site. Examples of a client software fusker implementation using these principles are PhotoFucket by phatWares.[1][2] or FuskerClient[3]

[edit] Criticism

Visitors to a fusker website frequently see copyrighted pornographic images that have been separated from their intended context, known as hot-linking. Companies that provide free hosted galleries strongly dislike fuskers because they have the potential to cost them a lot of money in bandwidth bills, and because the only reason the free galleries are provided is to entice the user into clicking on a more profitable link, and those links are no longer displayed from fusker sites.

In response, most web site administrators check the referrer field to prevent their images from being "fuskered", or require users to log in.[4] However, some fusker software has the ability to emulate a legitimate web browser. Referer headers are rewritten to an acceptable value, and more complex implementations can also emulate a web browser to the point of being able to click links and login to accounts.

Fusker websites usually include a mechanism for reporting fuskers that contain illegal content.

[edit] Etymology

"Fusker" is a Danish term which originally meant a person covertly doing work outside the official guilds. It came into Danish around 1700 from German pfuscher, meaning a dabbler, botcher, or charlatan. Later it came to mean someone cheating (for example using company resources for personal benefit) or alternately doing shoddy work.[5]

In English it nearly exclusively refers to the meaning described in this article.

[edit] History

The original fusker technology was created by Mikkel Carthag Tuek, who made the Perl CGI script as a work-alike of the UNIX/Linux cURL tool, specifically its URL-globbing functionality. Fusker was first publicized in late 2001 and was removed two years later, as the bandwidth usage became too unwieldy and the author preferred to avoid commercializing the site with advertisements. The original script also had a bug that would occasionally cause memory overflows. Several versions are available under a Perl license on Tuek's homepage.

The idea has been continued by others and ported to other scripting languages. There also exist JavaScript [1] (urlscan.hierzo.be) and Python [2] or [3] implementations.

[edit] Fusker Search Engines

Since fusker sites gained popularity, there has been several projects trying to cover all the fusker sites in one searchable database. The first being FuskerFind which is using the standard fusker user-interface. The second is FuskerSearch which is completely written from the scratch using the modern web technologies, which help for the best user experience.[citation needed]

[edit] References

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