Avoid phishing, malware, and viruses by examining short URLs before visiting them. Find out where links really take you.
For Example tweets with bit.ly, ow.ly or goo.gl where the contents of the URL give no indication of the original URL.
Site-specific short links like flic.kr or youtu.be are proven and safe.
What are they and why should I care?
Have you ever noticed really long web addresses?
Or just want to make a blog post shorter for more room to tweet?
In 2002 a website named TinyURL started a service that you paste your LONG URL and TinyURL would produce a short code that would then take you to the same long URL
Here is an example with one of my blog articles!
TinyURL was created!The following URL:
It has a length of 74 characters and resulted in the following TinyURL which has a length of 26 characters:
Some of these services allow you to visit their website and enter the shortened URL you may have received to look up where the link points to before clicking.
Also many URL shortening services do not offer that ability. And that is why malwareis out of control.
They use shortening services to disguise where a link actually leads to on the Internet.
Anytime you see a shortened URL, don't click on it. There are several tools available to decipher where a shortened link leads to BEFORE you click on it!
If you are sent a shortened link and are the least bit suspicious, try copying the short link and pasting it into one of these services to inform you where the link points to:
How to Spot and Stop a URL Shortener Scam
Many of us are on social media daily and know these things but 10's even 100's of million do not. The largest internet technique to shorten URL's or a URL shortener, is being used by scammers to fool people into visiting malicious websites.
Many users don’t realize this because they don’t know what a URL shortener is and how to recognize one.
Unless you’re a “techie,” you may not know what a “URL shortener” is, but most of us — Internet surfers, users of social networks and even emailers — use them all the time without knowing it.
If you’re a scammer the fact that we use them without knowing is very useful because it means if they can tamper with them, they can load malware onto our PCs, also without us knowing.
So, what is a URL shortener?
Well, take a look at the address bar in your Internet browser. You may have typed in the web address you’re visiting yourself — like www.wikipedia.com. That’s a URL — or
www.apple.com — and it’s the very precise information the Internet needs to take you to the right place.
But sometimes the URL appears in the address bar after you’ve clicked a link in an email or on a web page. It tells you where you’re at and you might recognize the first bit of the address. Usually the remainder is a long jumble of meaningless letters, numbers and slashes.you’re none the wiser.
Now, what happens if you want to copy and paste that link into an email, other document or a social networking site?
It looks a mess, sometimes several lines long. And, if you’re using Twitter, that URL is often too long to even fit in a “tweet.”
Enter the URL shortener. This is a simple, free application you’ll find on several sites that reads in that long line, stores it on a computer server, and returns to you a much shorter URL that links to the full address.
You can do this yourself by visiting one of those sites — tinyurl.com and bitly.com are two of the better known ones — and pasting in a long address.
In a second you’ll have your shortened version that you can send to others.
These days, some applications, especially those that support Twitter, automatically do the shortening for you.
Sounds Safe Right?
Well, up to a point it is, but according to Symantec, the Norton Internet Security firm, scammers are using the URL shortener technique to circulate massive amounts of malware.
The attraction to the crooks is that people who receive shortened URLs can’t see where they came from or where they’re going to.
Just like the genuine item, the recipient of a malicious shortened URL simply clicks on the link and goes to wherever the real web page is — in this case a page that automatically tries to infect the victim’s computer.
Most recently this type of nasty link has cropped up in emails claiming to notify recipients of a canceled cash transfer, but clicking on it just leads to a malware infested page.
Most of the legitimate URL shortening services are onto the crooks and have implemented security measures to try to halt the abuse.
For instance, the tinyurl.com service offers users who are trying to shorten URLs the ability to set up a preview that will show recipients what the true address is before they go there.
So, for my earlier example, visiting http://preview.tinyurl.com/p882cjv enables you to see our real address and visit us from that page.
The problem is scammers get around these and other types of security measures by creating their own URL shortening service.
To counter these, several other websites now offer a URL lengthening service, enabling you to paste in the link you got and see exactly where it leads to.
Again, there are several of these, including knowurl.com and longurl.com (try pasting in that http://tinyurl.com/p882cjv link there to reveal my blog article again).
It is simply a cat and mouse but there’s no doubt that URL shortener abuse is happening this second 24 hours a day 365 days a year.
If you decide to use a URL shortener yourself to send a link to someone else, choose one of the well-known services and opt to generate a preview, so that those you send it to will be able to check it out for themselves.
So is it worth missing out on up to 40% less clicks to save a few characters or see analytics that are actually much lower then if you had used the full URL?
What I am saying is if you use a short code on every tweet there are simply a certain percentage of people that will not click on it that would have had it been the natural link.
If your link points to bit.ly, People need one more click to make the correct determination or won’t consider clicking it at all because the “risk” of not getting what they anticipated is too high. Tweets with shortened links don’t get retweeted as often as tweets containing “real” URLs.
Users who want to provide their followers the best value might choose to rephrase your tweet and include the original URL rather than retweet you.
What if the company behind your URL shortener of choice decides to (or is forced to) shut the service down, all the links you have posted will stop working.
It’s bad enough that we are forced to use t.co on Twitter. At least we can assume that the t.co service will stay alive as long as Twitter lives.
Perhaps the biggest motivation for still using URL shorteners is the analytics data many shortening services provide.
It can be very addictive to see how many people click the links you post. But in my opinion, getting analytics should not interfere with the interests of your readers.
There are other ways to track the success of your tweets: the number of retweets and favorites you receive If you link to your own site, classic web analytics also help.
Site-specific shortlinks like flic.kr or youtu.be are safe I don’t have any problems with those.
The length of t.co URLs is currently 20 characters for http and 21 for https links. This length could increase in the future if Twitter runs out of permutations for the current character counts.
About LongURLTinyURL and other services solved a problem brought on by micro-blogging—limited message length. They do this by taking incredibly URLs and creating a small one that redirects to the original.
There's no way to tell (for sure) where a shortened link goes by just looking at it. So, then, I could send you this link http://tinyurl.com/p882cjv (to my blog) and say check out the secret to making 1,000 a day online!
When I could be sending you to very high paying pay per click ad or Fake Facebook Page collecting likes
Example from longURL
Long URL shows you where the short link will take you.
Before showing you all the companies offering Short URL's
take a look at recent facbook scams that hit millions of people. Through the use of URL shortners and other methods
A recent example was a scam about Tiffany giving away diamond rings on Facebook
When you see a post that says simply like and share this post for a free diamond ring or AUDI please use COMMON SENSE!In the past 2 weeks, 2 fake giveaways have come across my Facebook feed.
These were shared by people who I consider intelligent in social media, so that makes me think all kinds of other people are falling for the scam.
I’m sharing these with you, so you’ll know what to look out for.
This one is for an Audi R8 V8, I saw it 2 times now and each time from a different page!
The instructions are always the same – for a chance to win, you must like the page, request your desired color in the comments, and share the post with your friends.
I believe the Tiffany ended up with over 4 million views and built a Fake Facebook page with hundreds of thousands.
In a matter of even just a day at times these fake ripoff pages can gather 100,000 fans or more
By launching fake giveaways, the page owner can drive many new users to their Page and the Page's like numbers will grow accordingly.
The Page can be used to launch more scam campaigns. Pages with high like numbers can also command high prices on the black market.
Like-farming scams are very common on Facebook. Pretending to give away high-end cars is a favorite like-farmer tactic.
Any Page that claims that you can win an expensive prize such as a car just by liking and sharing should be treated with suspicion.
If one of these like-farming scam messages comes your way, do not click any links that it contains.
TAKE A LOOK AT ALL URL SHORTNER SERVICES.
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER FOR THE LATEST NEWS AND TIPS ON SOCIAL MEDIA JMHHACKER
OR FOLLOW MY AGENCY AT IBOOMMEDIA
Using URL shorteners to help simplify your social management process can ultimately annihilate your social media efforts.
Many companies that offer URL shortners may simply go out of business which then eliminates important social traffic data in Google Analytics.
That means all your personal work or that for a client will show fewer sessions and conversions from social media. Then from using that information the client or company may discontinue the use of social media from skewed data.