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Short URLs and Malware: What You Need to Know

By CheckShortURL on March 30, 2023

Shortened URLs, also known as short links, are popular for sharing links on messaging apps and social networks. However, these shortened links can also pose a significant security risk if not used correctly. One of the potential dangers of shortened URLs is the spread of malware. But don't worry! In this article, we tell you everything you need to know, not only about how shortened URLs can be used to spread malware, but also about what you can do to protect yourself from these types of threats.

Short URLs and Malware: What You Need to Know

How Shortened URLs can be used to spread malware

Shortened URLs can be used to conceal the true, suspicious, destination of a link, which makes it difficult for you to know where you are being directed. Since the short link doesn't show the domain name it's taking you to, it can be a harmless link to a specific product on your favorite online shop but it can also lead you to a suspicious website. This is, of course, a security risk as it allows criminals to send users to sites that contain malware. A malware is a malicious software that, even though it may look harmless, can damage your computer, the data it contains, or steal your personal information. When you click on a shortened link that leads to a site containing malware, you may inadvertently give hackers access to your device.

Which types of malware can be spread through short links?

Shortened URLs can hide all sorts of different malwares! The most frequent (but not only) ones are:

  • Ransomware: These malicious softwares encrypts your files and, then, demand payment in exchange for the decryption key.
  • Trojan horses: These frequent malwares disguise themselves as legitimate programs and can give hackers access to a user's device.
  • Adware: This type of malware displays unwanted ads on a user's device.
  • Spyware: This type of malware gathers personal information without a user's knowledge.

Protecting Yourself from Malware Spread through Shortened URLs

To protect yourself from malware propagated through short links, you have to be extra cautious when clicking on links from unknown sources. Don't click on a link if it looks suspicious, especially if you don't know the person sending it to you or if it was posted on a social media you are not used to get links from. Additionally, you can use a service like Checkshorturl to check the destination of a short URL before clicking on it. This can help ensure that you are not being directed to a site that contains malware.

Make sure that all your computers and mobile devices's security softwares are up-to-date. This will not only protect you from malwares hidden in a shortened URL but also from various online threats such as viruses. Indeed, your security software will then be able to alert you of a suspicious link you might have let slip!

Why Checkshorturl is a Good Way to Avoid These Dangers

The use of a tool like Checkshorturl can be an effective way to avoid the dangers associated with shortened URLs. By entering the short URL into the Checkshorturl website, you can see the full unshortened URL and determine whether or not it is safe to click on. This will help you protect yourself from phishing scams, malware, and unwanted content. In addition, Checkshorturl shows you a screenshot of the website to help you recognize a familiar page or, on the contrary, see that it looks suspicious.

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