4 Threats Posed by Shortened URLs

RapidVPN/ May 30, 2016/ Blog/

Shortened URLs are made by using an HTTP Redirect on a domain name, and this then links to the page in question to another with a long URL. These shortened URLs have been used on the Internet for a number of years, and they can be helpful for making links easier to find, and making it easier to embed links in blogs and such like.


However, shortened URLs can easily be corrupted, and with time more and more new security threats are being discovered in relation to their use such as malware and phishing. This is because the shortened URL can be used to hide malicious URLs which can bring with them the risk of online attack, and hacking.


To help you prevent online attack it is important to know what risks you face when online, so here are 4 of the top threats that are posed by shortened URLs:


  1. Hide site information

As shortened URL’s hide a lot of information that would normally be present in the full length URL address, the person clicking on the shortened URL is unable to see what site they will be directed to or what is being transferred on their systems. As a result, it is possible to be directed to a site that hosts malware, trojans and other similar malicious programs.


  1. Used by hackers and crooks

Hackers and crooks online can use the short URL links to direct people to harmful sites which contain phishing attempts. When users then access the malicious site, the hackers can then try to steal personal information such as bank details and browsing history.


  1. Used by spammers

Spamming is becoming more and more lucrative and therefore hackers are finding new ways to do it. URL shortening services are often used by spammers because they can help them to avoid getting their mail blocked by hiding their own domains.


  1. Clickbait

Clickbait is when a link is shared with a phrase that entices the user to click a link without actually explaining what the link leads to. This is performed with shortened URLs, and it can be used by brands and advertisers to increase the views of their content, but equally it can be used by hackers and crooks to entice people to click on malicious websites. As a result, you should always be wary of what links you click on.