InfoSec Blog - Introducing

November 9, 2018


You will start seeing short links pointing to in campus communications very soon and they can be trusted.

Shortened URLs, such as those from services like or, represent a security risk for all users. These links are frequently used in phishing scams since the true destination of the link is hidden from the user and are therefore a risky click. In order to increase the security of short links used in campus messages, CCS has established a secure University of Guelph branded URL shortening service that can be trusted by the campus community. These URLs can be used for many different purposes, and you may see them used on posters, digital signs, email newsletters, social media, and University websites. 

What is a Shortened URL?

URL shortening is a technique to substantially shrink the size of a web link and still direct users to the desired webpage. Short URLs are typically used with messaging technologies that limit the number of characters (such as SMS or Twitter), for reducing the amount of typing required if the reader is copying a URL, or to simply make it easier for people to remember. While many online services currently exist for this purpose, they are frequently used with malicious intent to redirect users to phishing websites or to sites serving malware.

Preview Before You Click

Our URL shortening service has been designed with security in mind and we have added several security controls to make links as trustworthy as possible. For example, you can simply add an ~ to the end of any link, such as, to see where that link goes. This will provide a preview page for that link so that you can always verify that it is legitimate and feel safe clicking on it.

URL Preview

If you have questions or would like to request access to this service, please visit our CCS service page at As always, if you have questions or concerns about any other security related topic, please reach out to the Information Security team ( 


Written by: Stephen Willem (Manager, Information Security)