TinyURL Phishing Increases in Popularity
An example of tinyURL use would be perhaps a Mapquest link to the San Francisco Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park, which can be shortened to http://tinyurl.com/aaqgln instead of http://www.mapquest.com/maps?address=1199+9th+Avenue+San+Francisco%2C+Ca+94122.
In a phishing scenario, this makes it difficult to mouse over a link to see exactly where it's going. It's also being used in instant messages from your "friends" as well as email.
We've discussed how to avoid phishing schemes before, and much of avoidance relies on recognizing the domain name in the URL as being invalid. Of course, I doubt you would go to E-Trade's site through a TinyURL, but perhaps not.
Naturally, Trend Micro's products purportedly protect against much of this (probably by scanning the TinyURL and expanding it. But if you use something else for security, you can also try the following:
- URL lengthening tools such as this Firefox extension. Once again, Chrome is super-fast, but unless I can get all the Firefox extensions I love on Chrome, I'm staying put.
- Using TinyURL's preview feature. Add preview to the front of the URL. For example, rather than http://tinyurl.com/aaqgln put http://preview.tinyurl.com/aaqgln into your browser's address bar. Try it.
- Finally, you can turn TinyURL preview on permanently in your browser. Go to http://tinyurl.com/preview.php, and click on the link that says "Click here to enable previews." You can similarly disable it later by going to the same page. You will have to do this for each browser you use if you use multiple browsers.