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Twitter to have its own URL shortner to fight phishing

By Ricky on March 11th, 2010 

Recently, many phishing scams have been spreading around in Twitter causing a trouble to a lot of users. These scams relies on one of the basic things behind Twitter - the use of URL shortening services as tweets are limited to 140 characters. By hiding behind these seemingly innocent shortened links, scammers have been passing around links to malicious (or phishing) sites to gain access to many Twitter users' account.

Despite many recommended precautions, many Twitter users still fall prey to such attacks. Twitter has finally realized the extent of damage such things can do and has stepped up to put an end to this problem. To solve the phishing problem, Twitter is launching its own URL shortening service. This is what Twitter's Director of Twitter's Trust and Safety team, Del Harvey wrote in a blog post:

Today, we’re launching a new service to protect users that strikes a major blow against phishing and other deceitful attacks. By routing all links submitted to Twitter through this new service, we can detect, intercept, and prevent the spread of bad links across all of Twitter. Even if a bad link is already sent out in an email notification and somebody clicks on it, we'll be able keep that user safe.

The new service hopes to detect and prevent the spread of the malicious links across Twitter as a whole. Now, links in Direct Messages will be shortened to, which is the new service. As most of the phishing scams spread through direct message, Twitter is going to focus most of their efforts in direct message to start off with.

Hopefully, this will succeed in bringing an end to all such attacks in the future. However, it will be interesting to see how other URL services respond, after all Twitter is one of the biggest (if not the only) reason why people use them.


Twitter to have its own URL shortner to fight phishing was originally published on on March 11, 2010 - 11:56 pm (Indian Standard Time)