Shortened URL Security # matchURL

Shortened URL Security # matchURL

15.Sep.2021

Shortened URLs, such as those from bit.ly and goo.gl, make it easy to type in a web address quickly but hard to tell where your web browser will actually take you.

Before clicking a shortened URL, check for the full URL. Most URL shorteners—including those used at U-M—include a preview feature. If you aren't sure it is safe, don't click!

Before creating or sharing a shortened URL, consider alternatives. If you must use one, make clear where it goes.

Be aware that criminals use shortened URLs to direct people to phishing sites and initiate malware downloads.

Shortened URLs are convenient tools for communicating on social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook because they keep updates on these sites brief, but you should be cautious about what links you click.

 

Before clicking a shortened URL, check for the full URL. Most link shorteners—including those used at U-M—include a preview feature. If you aren't sure it is safe, don't click!

Before creating or sharing a shortened URL, consider alternatives. If you must use one, make clear where it goes.

Be aware that criminals use shortened URLs to direct people to phishing sites and initiate malware downloads.

Shortened URLs are convenient tools for communicating on social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook because they keep updates on these sites brief, but you should be cautious about what links you click.

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Shortened URLs created by U-M organizations must contain the full URL (including the https://) if they are intended to redirect to external websites. U-M shortened URLs should not be used on social media sites or embedded in documents where their destination is unclear, as some recipients may find them unsafe. For example, you might use a shortened URL at bit.ly/umich rather than one of these sites:

 

uofmhealthconnect / uofm / umcc / healthconnectum / mottchildrens / annarbor / medschool / lsa / detroitnews UCWYVfQ8gU58D_qswF5GwCAVjA

 

However, this document was published using our UMHS site--back when we used bit.ly!

 

UMHS is the University of Michigan's main center for health-related information, news, advice, and support. Its site offers several services to help you trust its information.

 

__bitlyurl://www.umhealthconnect.org/HealthConnectUM?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.umccd.org%2F&subid=UMHealthC&kwdid=0B3475L8S8QVSTG02M1Y4TTcwR3NnUXNEa0lWNDJnbUd6TWNPbVBjN1hELE5oTVNFdm4zaDZmWXVZRFVK&tl=2476731449_3a0f9b052d5e.1

THE FULL URL: http://www.umccd.org/

 

This shortened version redirects to a spam site that may contain malicious downloads. It also cannot be traced back to its original author, making it impossible to contact the person behind the spam site in case of suspicious activity. In this case, using a full URL is more effective and guarantees people will get to your intended destination, but you can learn from our mistake! This document used bitly to shorten URLs until March 2016 when we moved to WordPress's default link shortening service--which still exists legacy reasons within some HTML code.

 

You can learn more about shortened URLs by looking into their specific services. The examples above are from the following URL shortening services, each with unique benefits to help you decide which one is right for your organization:

The U-M Health System site uses a shortened URL service to notify the people who have given us their email address that we sent them a message. This way, if someone shares or copies the web address from our emails, it will NOT work anymore because it is personally linked with one person's email account. Links from other sources may be less likely to lead to suspicious activity, but should also be checked for safety before being shared and/or clicked. (U-M students and employees: The following links go directly to pages on myUMHS.)

 

U-M Health System Medstudents: https://med.umich.edu/medstudents/forms/?form_id=4

If you are sending a link to one or more people, it is your responsibility to check that the shortened URL will direct them where they need to go! If you plan on using a shortened URL service for both internal and external use, consider providing step-by-step instructions on how to properly access links--especially if it involves copying and pasting text into their browser address bar.

 

Using shortened URLs is not enough to guarantee the security of your site or its recipients. You can monitor changes in their privacy policies to be aware of any updates they make.

Back to top

 

Shortened URL services help users type out long addresses more quickly and easily, but it makes tracking where a link goes difficult (a user could conceivably paste it anywhere). A key part of online safety for individuals is keeping track of who has access to what information. Using this data responsibly requires awareness of what we reveal about ourselves and our interests through our digital footprint--not just on social media like LinkedIn or Twitter, but also by clicking links that take you away from trusted sites like UHS.gov. For example:

When we use shortened links, we should check to make sure the full URL is correct before clicking it.

 

When you are sharing links with colleagues or friends, take the time to send the real link instead of using a shortened one because there can be harmful consequences if you don't.

If you plan on sharing information via email, always check that every shortened URL connects correctly with no suspicious activity before sending it. By following these guidelines consistently, you can help keep your network secure and your U-M affiliation out of trouble! Back to top

Shortened URLs are meant for convenience but can hide what they're really pointing to--so be smart about how you use them. It's easy to brush off security concerns by thinking "I'll just double-check the link when I get to my destination." But too often, people don't do that.

 

And always remember, if it looks suspicious, don't click! Back to top

A shortened URL is a way of putting in an address into another website that wraps the long url for you. This means that when someone clicks on your shortened URL, they are directed to your original site without having to copy/paste your url in their browser.This is very useful if typing out a really long url saves you time and effort. However, there are several risks associated with using this type of service which can pose dangers for both individuals and organizations:

1. Shortened URLs hide the true source of the site so its legitimacy can be determined.

2. Usually shortened URLs are created by third-party websites (shorteners) that could change the address without notice.

3. Shortened URLs can be tracked back to you, through your IP address or web browser history so it allows people who may wish you harm, to know where you go online and potentially use this knowledge against you. Here are some guidelines on how users should properly share information via email: If sending an email to many people, send them the full URL instead of a shortened version - this is helpful for those who copy/paste links into search engines looking for more information or verifying that they have the correct link before opening it;

When sharing links, do not send shortened versions to other U-M faculty or students unless you are sure the website is safe - there have been many instances of users being directed to malicious websites via email which have resulted in some account compromises.

Do not insert more than one link into an email - this leaves room for mistakes, misunderstandings or assumptions that might lead someone to click on a wrong link, which can potentially compromise their machine with malware. As our world becomes increasingly digital, it's important to keep up with best practices for sharing information safely online. This will help prevent potential issues from arising and allow us to continue being successful at the University of Michigan!

 

Shortened URLs serve as both campground reviews (google maps) and trail reviews (trailforks). Both websites make usage better by providing reviews of the trail/campground, among other things. While both are led by a team of people that continually update them, neither website is perfect.

 

Google Maps is not perfect because it does not give the most recent reviews on every campground/trail sometimes. Trailforks provides more extensive reviews but can be user unfriendly for casual users and requires registration to post reviews.

Both websites make usage better by providing reviews of the trail/campground, among other things, but they are different in what they provide to their audience. Google maps provides quick access to all types of campgrounds while trailforks allows users to find detailed information about trails which makes it easier for mountain bikers than google maps could ever dream

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