Criminals will often use shortened URLs to direct people to phishing websites—sites that ask you to log in or fill in a form and then steal your password and/or personal information. Fortunately, with a little bit of work, you can avoid being victimized by these sites if they're using a shortened URL.
First thing's first: never click on a shortened URL without checking it out first! While this might seem obvious, some criminals have been known to trick their victims into clicking on things by telling them they need software updates or similar tools. Always look before you log in - whether the link is from an email message, website, or social network site - always look for possible warnings about it being suspicious. In most cases, you'll see a little warning if the site is known to be dangerous, but sometimes you need to know what to look for. Some red flags are:
If any of these are included in the shortened URL or come up on the website being directed to, close your web browser immediately and don't click on anything else. If you're not sure about it, do some more research before proceeding. Another thing that can tip you off that something isn't right is if the site seems out of character—if it looks too "shady" compared with other sites that seem similar, then it's best not to go there!
While criminals will use shortened URLs occasionally as part of social engineering attacks (where they try to trick people into doing things), they will usually use them to direct people to phishing sites. There are some situations where criminals can use shortened URLs more directly, though. For example, if you have something that's malware - malicious software that seeks out your passwords or personal information - it might use a shortened URL in its search for logins. That way, the malware doesn't need to know anything about linking shortening services at all!
The best way to avoid being victimized by these types of crime is simply not to click on any URLs unless you're absolutely sure they're safe—in most cases, this means knowing what you're looking for and finding out whether or not they're trustworthy ahead of time (i.e., before clicking). If you suspect something isn't right, don't click on it.
Article summary: There are many shortened URLs used by criminals. If you suspect a link is malicious or links to suspicious content, don't click on it and look for warning signs (such as ambiguous content, strange domain names, etc.). Criminals can also use shortened URLs directly in some cases (e.g., malware), so be careful of what you click on!
Article highlights: -Criminals use shortened URLs to direct people to phishing websites—sites that ask you to log in or fill in a form and then steal your password and/or personal information.
-Look before you log in! Look for possible warnings about the site or red flags (ambiguous content, strange domain names, etc.).
-Avoid clicking on anything unless you know it's safe. If you suspect something isn't right (e.g., malware), don't click on it!
-While criminals will use shortened URLs occasionally as part of social engineering attacks (where they try to trick people into doing things), they will usually use them to direct people to phishing sites. There are some situations where criminals can use shortened URLs more directly, though.
A short URL is a web address that has been made shorter in length than the original address by using a service on the Internet. Criminals have started to use these shortened sites to avoid being caught. They do this because it is harder for people to find out what exactly they are doing on it as the link will seem safe and innocent. Most of those services also protect those malicious users from being tracked down as well as providing them with anonymity which makes it very hard for law enforcement agencies to catch those criminals if they use them successfully .
Criminals will make links look like something completely different depending on what you plan on doing with it (i.e., putting an advertisement on a social media site). They want to make it as innocent-looking as possible, especially if they plan on using it for phishing purposes.
Here are some examples on different types of shortened URLs:
Phishing or malware? Be careful! How can you tell the difference between the two of them? If there is no www. in front of it and just www, then that’s most likely a malware link. When you come across one of those sites DO NOT click on any links or advertisements because more than likely they will redirect you to another virus site.
If there is a www. and .org at the end somewhere, you should be okay but always look before you log in to anything! Look out for red flags (i.e., strange content, letter spacing that doesn't line up, links that don't work or take you to a different link than you expected...etc.) If there's anything suspicious about the site, don't go!
If it is an advertisement and it looks like someone was trying to get rid of their phone or something, do not fall for it because if you look closely they will probably be asking for your personal information and then you'll become another victim and part of this crime ring.
Criminals use shortened URLs to:
-Direct people to phishing websites—sites that ask you to log in or fill in a form and then steal your password and/or personal information. Always Look Before You Log In.
-Initiate download of malicious software, such as ransomware, to your device.
-If you are suspicious of a shortened URL, don't click it. Criminals will use shortened URLs occasionally as part of social engineering attacks where they try to trick people into doing things but usually will use them to direct people to phishing sites or malware sites. There is some limited cases where criminals can use shortened URLs more directly though.
Shortened URLs can be dangerous because it is hard for someone see what the link is really linked with (i.e., whether its phishing vs malware). If you come across one of those links on Social Media or any other website you shouldn't onto the site because it could
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