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The danger of shortened URLs

The 'url' are the addresses on the web that take us to the specific resources that we want to open, such as a page or an image, but they are also the channel used by cybercriminals to try to defraud victims, especially when their destination is opaque , as it happens with the shortened 'url'

One of the usual tips to check if a link can be fraudulent is to check how the 'url' is written, especially when trying to impersonate an address of a well-known company. Comparing one and the other is an important step to avoid falling for what is certain, it is a scam aimed at stealing access credentials to an account or money.

It happens, however, that this check is not possible in the case of shortened 'url's. These have fewer characters, and precisely for this reason they are more suitable for sharing a link on social networks, where brevity prevails.

To shorten the 'url' there are services such as those offered by bitly,, Buffer or TinyURL, which modify the original and long 'url' in a shortened version, but directing it to the same destination. Sometimes these shortenings can even be customized, which makes it more aesthetically attractive but also more practical.

But the fact that they are more aesthetic also means that they are less informative, as pointed out by the Internet Security Office (OSI). This is because it hides the destination web page, which has led cybercriminals to focus on this method of sharing links and tricking users.

While not all shortened urls are dangerous, it is worth getting extra help to figure out what's behind a shortened link character. You can use the extension for Chrome (or Link Unshorten for Firefox) to find out the original address.

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