Can't Get You Out of My Head
2020-09-18, 16:30–17:10, Virtual

Our devices are continually sending and receiving a complex set of instructions and information every time they interact over HTTP. While this mostly invisible interaction is primarily made up of the same standard set of attributes what oddities would we discover if we spidered 10,000,000 domains?

HTTP headers are the–mostly–hidden backbone of our online infrastructure. However, for a standard designed to be consumed entirely by code, and rarely seen by people, HTTP headers contain a surprising amount of geeky humour and many oddities.

Since reading the convoluted history of the browser user-agent and finding out that MySpace’s servers were powered by “Nerd Rage” I’ve been curious as to what other interesting histories headers had, or what easter eggs mischevious developers had hidden for others like them to find.

Join me on this deep dive into HTTP headers as I go through how I spidered 10,000,000 domains. We’ll look at the challenges of writing an efficient, concurrent HTTP spider in Python as well as some of my findings from the harvested headers.