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Are link shorteners safe?

Link shorteners are online tools that take a long URL and condense it into a shorter, more manageable form. These shorter links are often easier to share on social media platforms or through messaging apps, where space is limited. They can also be used to track clicks and analyze the effectiveness of a particular link.

While link shorteners can be a convenient and useful tool, there are a few potential risks to consider when using them.

One potential risk is that shortened links can be used to obscure the true destination of a link. For example, a shortened link may appear to lead to a legitimate website, but in reality, it could redirect the user to a phishing site or a site containing malware. This is especially true if the shortened link was created by someone you do not know or trust.

To protect yourself when clicking on shortened links, there are a few steps you can take:

Look for clues about the link's destination: Some link shorteners allow users to see the full URL before clicking on the link. This can help you determine whether the link is safe to click on.

Check the link's authenticity: If you receive a shortened link through an email or message, be sure to verify the authenticity of the sender before clicking on the link. If the link was sent by someone you know and trust, it is more likely to be safe.

Use a link scanning tool: There are online tools that can scan shortened links and show you where they lead. This can help you identify potentially malicious links.

It is also worth noting that some link shorteners may use cookies to track your clicks. While this can be useful for tracking the effectiveness of a particular link, it can also potentially compromise your online privacy. To protect your privacy when using link shorteners, you may want to use a private browsing mode or clear your cookies after clicking on a shortened link.

Link shorteners can be a useful and convenient tool, but it is important to exercise caution when clicking on shortened links to ensure your online safety. By following the steps outlined above, you can help protect yourself from potentially malicious links and maintain your online privacy.