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September 22, 2010

McAfee beats Twitter to launch URL scanning service

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by Janet Harris

The problem with shortened URLs from services such TinyURL and Bit.ly is that you can’t see exactly where they are going to take you, so there is a risk of being taken to sites containing malware, Trojans and other nasties that could infect your computer.

The advantage of shortened URLs is clear though if you are a twitterer with a 140 character limit to your message.

With twitters, bloggers and others in mind, security firm McAfee has launched McAf.ee, a URL-shortening service that will scan the shortened link when a user clicks on it, to make sure it is going to a safe destination.

The service checks the destination against its database of compromised sites and categorises the destination as Red for dangerous, Yellow for suspicious and Green for safe.

The red sites will be blocked unless the user types the long URL, a warning message appears for the yellow sites and the users click straight through to the green sites.

Earlier this month Twitter announced plans to launch its own URL shortening service, T.co, by the end of the year.

Like McAfee’s service, T.co will scan shortened links to make sure they are safe.

Story link: McAfee beats Twitter to launch URL scanning service

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