back to article Short URLs in spam skyrocket

Incidents of shortened URLs in spam messages have skyrocketed since the start of this week. Email filtering service MessageLabs reports that more than 2.25 per cent of junk mail messages feature spamvertised links laundered through URL redirection services. URL redirection services map between lengthy web addresses and …


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  1. Doc Spock

    Repeat After Me...

    "As was already the case, I _WILL NOT_ click on links whose final destination I do not know"

    As an aside, it seems that it would be a good thing (tm) if web browsers (or web services) were able to identify the final URL that such links would go to, without you having to click on them and go through the whole redirect process....

  2. jimbarter

    whats this box for?

    Short URL?

    make it longer...

    as I'm sure someone else will point this out too - FF FTW.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    So we now need to block these pointless sites

    I for one am very happy to block these pointless URL shrinking sites from any email content.

    Infact it sounds like the time to find a Milter that can reject emails that contain a URL such as these pointless URLs when in an Email.

  4. Gav

    Not a problem, the same rules apply as before

    Don't really see the problem here.

    If you are clicking on a link on spam, then what does it matter if it goes through a redirection or not. You are still clicking on a link in spam and will suffer the consequences, whether its directly or redirected. Don't click on spam's links. Simple.

    If you are clicking on a link in a phishing attempt, then you are clearly not reading the url. If it doesn't say "", then you have no right to expect a redirect to take you there. What reputable business is going to use a redirection service just to get a short URL? Their URL is a vital part of their identity, Besides that, you're not paying attention to what everyone has been saying about phishing links in emails for years now. Don't click on links on emails that claim to come from your bank. Simple.

  5. Spiracle
    Paris Hilton

    Spam Skyrocket?

    Paris, obviously.

  6. Steve Evans


    If the likes of TinyURL did something a little active, using a redirection service might actually save our more gullible surfers...

    TinyURL scans destination of link, if it's a virus/trojan, it redirects the "victim" to a page telling them to beware of links, and suggesting some antivirus products.

    In fact they might not even need to check the target, I'm sure a mass emailing work spewing links will generate a visit spike so large even a blind mind could notice it!

    It's certainly far faster to take down a shrunken URL than it is to just and get an ISP to block/turn off a compromised site hosting the malware.

  7. Dick Emery


    At least not without having preview enabled to show the link you are about to follow. TinyURL offers this feature whilst other redirectors do not.

    A certain notorious imageboard uses the redirector trick to punt users to nefarious sites all the time (Malware and Trojans, porn spam etc). After being caught out myself on the odd occasion I no longer click such links without a preview feature.

  8. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
    Thumb Down annoyance

    People used this a lot on a forum I used to be a moderator on. 'twas very annoying, as tinyurl don't even allow you to see what link you're clicking through to - which I found extremely annoying, as I see no reason why you shouldn't be able to go to there site and paste their url into a box, and have it spit out the real identity of the link.

    We had all sorts of stuff posted and I really didn't need (or want) to have to see 2 girls one cup yet AGAIN, in order to ban the user in question, just the url will do thankyou...

    Thumbs down because that really used to annoy me.

  9. Daniel Bennett


    on Tweetdeck you can set it so, when you click a URL you can see where its going to take you before the page even loads. Infact before it even loads a browser window!

    This is very very helpful in separating the spam and the legit!

    so if you are tweeting, get tweetdeck.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Ta muchly for the tip.

  11. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    Come on!

    Don't click on links in email, simple as that! No reason to click on links in emails. End of story!

    If it's something that interests me, then I will fire up the browser and manually type it in and do a search on the site in question. Yes, that might take longer, but then I weigh that against the time it will take to recover all my data and I think an extra 30 secs to check something out is preferable to several hours putting my machine back together.

  12. El Richard Thomas

    Tinyurl preview

    I enabled the preview setting for tinyurl as soon as I heard about it, and in my opinion they should make it the default setting. One more page load & click in return for knowing where you are about to be taken and being able to choose to hit the back button. But that FF add on looks useful, have installed, will check it out when I restart...

  13. Jacqui Smith's DVD Collection!
    Thumb Up

    @ Daniel Bennett

    Thanks for the Tweetdeck tip.

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