InfoSec Blog - The Perils of Shortened URLs

August 19th, 2016

Those tiny URLs might be convenient and look nicer than the real thing but they don’t come without their pitfalls.

In particular internet bad guys will use them to make their very suspicious looking malicious link look a little bit more friendly. For example, if you received and email with a link to hxxp://tinyurl.com/j4av2av you would be way more likely to click it than if it read hxxp://badguysite.123.this.is.a nasty.virus.and.will.infect.your.computer.exe. These bad guys love using these links so that they can trick you into falling for their trap.

If you’ve been following our blog, seen our posters, or spoken to any of us in person; you should know by now that you shouldn’t be clicking on any link no matter how long or short if you don’t know the sender or they are asking to log in or verify an account. If, however someone sends you a shortened URL and you want to know where it goes without clicking on it then here is a handy trick for finding out where your browser will end up…

Where Does This Link Go? is a free and very useful tool for finding out where your shortened URLs will actually go without you putting yourself at risk of landing on a malicious site.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns regarding cyber security, please feel free to reach out to us. We are always glad to help you feel safe online.

 

Written by: Chris Sowley (Cyber Forensics Analyst, Information Security)