We've mentioned the danger posed by the miniature URLs that are often used in place of full length links. Whenever a complete URL is too long or cumbersome, many users turn to URL shortening services like TinyURL. Unfortunately, a condensed URL that appears harmless can easily lead to a malware download or phishing site, rather than the destination you were expecting. What appears to be a link to a friend's home video may actually be pointing you toward the Koobface virus. Hackers can target a single URL shortening service and intentionally misroute millions of users.
To find out where those mini URLs lead before you click on them, paste them into a URL lengthening service (naturally!) like TinyURL Decoder or Untiny. Untiny also offers browser add-ons that make it easy to see the full URL automatically. And, of course, protect yourself from spam and malware with Internet security software.
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