Twitter Users at Risk With Spam Hiding Under Tiny URLs

July 20th, 2009 at 12:00 am

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The conciseness of micro-blogging as well as its ability to provide updates in real time has made it quite popular today. And it’s no wonder that sites like Twitter have become quite a popular service that more and more people have turned to as a means of social networking online. And along with this popularity, certain issues have cropped up like spamming that might just turn people off. One of the recent ones involved the use of shortened URL’s when posting links on Twitter.

With Twitter being a micro-blog of some sort as well as a social network, text messages, or Tweets, are usually limited to only to 140 characters. Using URL links might just be a waste of valuable Tweet real estate. That is why there are URL shortening services such as TinyURL that help shorten conventional links into Twitter-friendly links. It is quite a handy tool to use especially if you frequently have many links to share to your followers on Twitter. These shortened links have also attracted spammers and cyber-criminals from using them for certain devious purposes online.

Shortened URL links used on Twitter have made it easier for spammers and other questionable elements for hiding URL’s with malicious intent when clicked upon. For most people not able to determine such spam links, it would be quite easy to just click on the link that might be preceded by an otherwise harmless Tweet. But some of these links can actually lead some people to visit a malicious web page without even knowing it.

There also have been several instances where some spam emails now contain shortened links such as that used in Twitter as a means to hide a certain malicious website from detection by an unwary reader through an otherwise identifiable URL. As a result, it can be easier for spammers to have better click-throughs this way and therefore more victims. It achieves even a more risky approach when used on Twitter. People should be made more aware of such risks since they can be a source of headaches later on as more people may become a victim to such deception.