Most of us are probably familiar with URL shorteners at this point. They’re those online applications that take a long URL string and convert it to something shorter. The shortener doesn’t replace the URL, but rather creates a redirect that’s a little easier on the eyes.
Nowadays, you see them a lot on Twitter, due to the 140-character limit for tweets. There have been many reported instances of attackers utilizing URL shorteners to mask a phish or malware domain to which they intend to redirect you. There are services that allow you to “unwrap” a shortened URL and reveal its actual destination; that, however, requires questioning a short URL’s legitimacy, which you may not think twice about doing if the short URL is crafted well enough.
We’re pleased to announce that we will be introducing the URL Shortener category to our Domain Tagging system to allow the optional filtering of this category on your OpenDNS network! It’s not necessarily a security risk to allow these domains, but if you wanted to cut the URL middleman out of the picture altogether, we now make that option easy for you.
Do you have some URL Shorteners that you’d like to add to the URL Shortener repository? Let us know about it!