What is a shortened link? Basically we can say that it is a URL that does not show us the full address. It is usually a link that only contains a few letters or digits, followed by an extension that usually does not match the real domain. This does not always mean that it is dangerous, far from it, but it is a strategy used by hackers.
A legitimate shortened link For example, it would be a very long link of a certain product that we have seen on Amazon and we want to send it by WhatsApp or mail and so that it is not so long we have used a service to shorten it. What happens is that we are really hiding the name of that domain, its extension, etc.
This strategy It can be used by a cybercriminal to send us a fake link, but actually hiding all the content. In this way, we only get a small link by email, Facebook, WhatsApp or any other service and, upon entering, we go to the site that is hiding.
We should never click without thinking about these links as they can be a fraud. Maybe they hide a malicious address that contains malware, it is a Phishing attack or any other attack method that compromises security and privacy. Also, we can always create safe shortened links.
After explaining why shortened links can be dangerous, we are going to give some tips to open them without putting security at risk. It is something that we can face on many occasions, since it is not strange to receive an e-mail or a message of this type.
The first thing is see the source of the message. Who sent us that shortened link? That is basic. We should never open it if it comes to us through an unknown account or in any way we suspect that there may be something wrong. This is essential.
On the other hand, we can always see what’s behind a link without opening it. For example we can use GetLinkInfo. This type of page is used to put any shortened link and, without having to open it on our computer, see what the full address is.
A third step would be open it in a safe environment. For example, a browser where we do not have other tabs open with our accounts. In this way, if we enter a malicious page that can collect data, we would have a barrier that at least prevents in that sense putting privacy at risk.
Ultimately, opening a shortened link can be dangerous. We have seen that we can take into account some steps to avoid problems. We can analyze the source of the message, view the complete content with an external service or even open it in a secure environment.