RealTime IT News

Shortened URLs Are Spam Magnets: Gartner

Hackers aren't terribly original. They stick to the tried and true and monitor popular online culture to scope out possible vulnerabilities in the technologies and formats of the sites, applications and devices we use most.

Then they pounce.

As eSecurity Planet reports, truncated URLs that Internet users have become comfortable clicking on without a second thought through their Twitter accounts are coming up dirty all over the Internet, according to IT researcher Gartner.

As this behavior continues, expect more and more malware syndicates to tailor the shortened URLs they embed in unsolicited email campaigns to appear legitimate and worthwhile to naïve Internet users looking to stay atop the latest scuttlebutt.


Shortened URLs included in garden-variety emails and tweets are harder for antivirus and antispam applications to weed out, giving hackers another lucrative avenue to spread spam quickly and with much greater efficiency.

That's the word from security software vendor Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC), which dedicated most of its July MessageLabs Intelligence report to the pesky shortened URLs that are pretty much a prerequisite for quickly sharing links to stories, tweets and images on Twitter and other microblogging services.

Symantec's report found that shortened-hyperlink spam hit a one-day peak of 18 percent of all spam emails on April 30, a total of more than 23.4 billion messages in one 24-hour period.

More troubling, Symantec security experts said, is the recent trend showing that shortened, spam-laden URLs are becoming as much a fabric of the spam culture as come-ons from Nigerian royalty and shady pharmaceutical dispensaries.

Read the full story at eSecurity Planet:
Shortened URLs Are the Latest Spam Scourge