If you're running a lot on social networking sites like Twitter or Facebook, you'll see countless shortened links or shortened links.
By the term abbreviated link we mean that the connection uses a proxy service that does nothing other than redirect you to the actual website when you click on it.
This may make sense in Twitter that there is the artificial limit of 140 characters, but in general it is a very dangerous habit that has no real advantages, in addition to reducing the number of characters of a connection that appears on your screen.
The risk, therefore, is that you can not know who the link is leading. One who uses the Bit.ly service looks something like this: http://bit.ly/1GuRuGr and does not reveal anything about his destination. There is a risk that you will be dragged into dangerous sites.
The feature is too much used for phishing, or by sites that try to attack your computer in other ways.
You can of course prepare your system somewhat to reduce the risks. Security software can help you and protect you against many risks, but there can be no protection against 100% against all threats.
How can you protect yourself?
Use common sense. Who posted the link? A trusted friend, or a page or person you know little about?
While this may help you a little more, it does not work with the shortened links. Of course you may have already noticed that these links may also come from friends you know very well, but they have had the misfortune to deceive themselves.
Hacked accounts usually start sending malicious links to all account buddies.
How can you discover the destination of a link?
As you can see from above, the best option is to be able to see what you're hiding behind a shortened link without having to click and go to the web page.
Here is where some of the tools that will help you come in. With a search in Chrome and Firefox extensions, they show amazing results. There are too many extensions for Chrome that disclose the links automatically, but there is not one available that works in Firefox.
The majority of Firefox add-ons that reveal links are dating from 2012, and none of them works
Chrome users can choose it LinkPeelr for example, which discloses abbreviated links. It supports a wide range of services such as: t.co, bit.ly, is.gd or ow.ly to name a few.
If you use Firefox?
Firefox users can use an online service to LongUrl, rather than an extension. It's an online service that you can paste the shortcut links to uncover their final destination.
It's not as comfortable as Chrome's LinkPeel, which shows the actual links when you move the mouse over the shortcut but it's better than nothing.
The service had created an add-on for Firefox sometime, but has not been updated by 2009 and so it does not work in the latest versions of the browser.
An alternative is the service Unshorten which also reveals the destination of the link.