Wednesday, April 15, 2009

URL shortening dangers

With services like Twitter and other that shorten long URLs it’s easy for someone to send you to a “bad” or “dangerous” page or just to play a prank with you like RickRolling. What if a service like tr.im starts to display ads before redirecting you?

Where are you redirected?

TinyURL offers their own preview feature as well as you can add preview to the link like this. If the link is http://tinyurl.com/c9hocr just change it to http://preview.tinyurl.com/c9hocr and you will find what the URL redirects to.

If you want support for other short URL services here are some other tips.

TinyURL Decoder that is a Greasemonkey for Firefox. It automatically convert short links from most short URL services. It is a bit of delay as the links are expanded after the page is loaded.

Here is how TinyURL Decoder works. Before and after.

before

 

after using TinyURL Decoder

No question of what I prefer.

Tin Foil Hat is another Greasemonkey script that instead shows the link in a tooltip.

Embiggen is also a Greasemonkey script that works with TinyURL.

LongURL supports several services and works in any browser. I got server timeout though when I tried it.

PrevURL but it was really slow when I tried it. But it should give a screenshot of the webpage in question.

And if you don’t like the URL small you can always try HugeURL.

Then on the topic, remember that you cannot be sure the URL shorteners are around in the future.

While writing this post I also found the post on url shorteners worth reading.

Do you have any good tips for this? Any script that works in Internet Explorer?


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