Are URL shorteners safe?

Are URL shorteners safe?

29.Sep.2021

URL shorteners are tools that create shorter web addresses for websites and other internet domains. Almost all of us have used a URL shortener or two, be it to provide a friend with a link to an review we wrote, send a link to an interesting news site, or share information on social media. 

But would you want people visiting your website seeing this: http://tinyurl.com/mxh3xj4 ? Although it is just another shortened URL many will view the address as spammy and suspicious. And unfortunately, this isn't just perceiving - hackers and spammers do use shortened URLs for illicit activities such as phishing scams, malware distribution campaigns, password stealers, etc.

security risk with a shortened URL is that you can’t tell where the link is going. Although some URL shortening services do offer HTTPS encryption, shortened URLs with no branding information could potentially lead to a phishing scam or malware download.

So if something seems too good to be true, it probably is! Even with popular brands such as Bitly and Goo.gl finding shortcuts online has become a way of life for many internet users who want to share content quickly via social media and email. However, there are several reasons that using these tools shouldn’t always be done without caution:

These companies also have access your data

- You'll need to share access to your own account so they can set up the service

- They may track and sell your data

- You'll need to manually change the link once it's created

- The shortened URL may be unreadable to users and could affect user engagement

- It can be used for malicious purposes, such as phishing and malware distribution: https://www.techworm.net/2014/07/hackers-used-google-url-shorteners-spread.html

In conclusion, using a URL shortener isn’t necessarily a bad thing – it is something that we use every day to make sharing our content easier with friends and family. However, precautions should always be taken when clicking on a short link from an unknown source or where you’re unsure of its authenticity – better safe than sorry!

 

Are URL shorteners safe? Shortened URLs are popular tools for sharing information with friends on social media or through mobile devices. They provide a more convenient way to post links without affecting user engagement, but they also pose certain security risks. Although some URL shortening services do offer HTTPS encryption, shortened URLs with no branding information could potentially lead to a phishing scam or malware download. Even popular brands such as Bitly and Goo.gl have some drawbacks that include having to manually change the link once it's created and sharing access your data, which can be used for malicious purposes such as phishing and malware distribution. Using a URL shortener isn't necessarily a bad thing - it is something that we use every day to make sharing our content easier with friends and family - but precautions should always be taken when clicking on a short link from an unknown source or where you're unsure of its authenticity. These companies also have access your data and you'll need to manually change the link once it's created, which can both be used for malicious purposes such as phishing and malware distribution. A few rogue cases include:

2010: Trend Micro researchers found malware in shortened URLs used to spam instant messaging services like Yahoo Messenger and MSN messenger.

2012: A computer worm spread quickly through Skype with the help of a shortened URL. Clicking on the link turned your PC into a botnet.

2014: Hackers used Google URL shorteners to spread a malware-laced ZIP file. So if something seems too good to be true, it probably is! Even with popular brands such as Bitly and Goo.gl finding shortcuts online has become a way of life for many internet users who want to share content quickly via social media and email. However, there are several reasons that using these tools shouldn't always be done without caution: These companies also have access your data - You'll need to share access to your own account so they can set up the service - They may track and sell your data - You'll need to manually change the link once it's created - The shortened URL may be unreadable to users and could affect user engagement - It can be used for malicious purposes, such as phishing and malware distribution: https://www.techworm.net/2014/07/hackers-used-google-url-shorteners-spread.html In conclusion, using a URL shortener isn't necessarily a bad thing - it is something that we use every day to make sharing our content easier with friends and family - but precautions should always be taken when clicking on a short link from an unknown source or where you're unsure of its authenticity. These companies also have access your data and you'll need to manually change the link once it's created, which can both be used for malicious purposes such as phishing and malware distribution.

Background Information: A URL is a Uniform Resource Locator, which is basically all the information needed to tell your browser where on the internet to find a certain webpage or file. A shortened URL, also known as a ‘URL shortener’, is created when you type in a long web address into your browser and it redirects you to a website with a shorter link that can be used instead. The main reason this feature was launched was because of the problem with having very long web addresses on Twitter. It was becoming difficult for people to fit them in one tweet so they changed them for you automatically. Shortened URLs save time and space by removing unnecessary characters from an address but there are some security risks.

The article also discusses how shortened URLs can sometimes result in malware or phishing scams, which is why it’s important to take precautions when clicking on a short link from an unknown source. .  

Also (added by me) - Ensuring that the link you are sharing does not disclose personal information about yourself or your contacts is essential for keeping them safe online.

 

Are URL shorteners safe? By Candice H., Founder of Digital Inspiration Bitly and Goo.gl are two of the most popular URL shortening services around today, but there's no denying they've become extremely popular with spammers and hackers looking to get their links shared widely so they can spread malware and spam effectively.

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