If you receive a shortened URL in your email, or private message box, the chance is there that it could be a dangerous shortened URL, but how are you going to find out if it is a dangerous URL? In this post, we are going to explain what a shortened URL exactly is, and how you can find out if it is a dangerous URL or not.
What is a shortened URL
A shortened URL, is a URL which has been processed by an URL shortening service, these services create a second link for the first link in their own database. This allows them to create short URLS for the original URL.
So for example, if we take:
we can see that this link is very long and not nice to send to others.
But once we send the example URL to an URL shortening service, they will be able to shorten the URL.
The result of the shortened URL could look like this:
Dangerous shortened URLS
In the example above, we were able to see how it is possible for anyone to create a shortened URL – and this is something the cybercriminals and hackers know. The hackers and cybercriminals are able to use these URL shortening services to hide their dangerous URLS for the naked eye.
They can shorten links which lead to malware and this is very dangerous.
How to check if a shortened URL is dangerous
Luckily, there are a lot of services which allow you to check if a URL is dangerous or not. The best method is to use a URL unshortening service. This services are able to unshorten shortened links, allowing you to inspect the URL with the naked eye.
But if you want to be more cautious, you can use the VirusTotal service. This service allows you to insert a link, the VirusTotal engine will then scan the link with 50+ antivirus products. Very effective.
The URL de-shortener services
The VirusTotal site