Technology

Preview Shortened URLS on Your Mobile Phone

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This guide shows you how to conveniently Preview goo.gl, ow.ly, bit.ly, sn.im, tiny.cc and Other Popular Short Links right on your mobile phone.

If you know the trick behind shortened UR, you may want to be cautious before opening any “veiled” link you get from business associates, friends, on facebook, twitter, YouTube, and other social media.
Sometimes, the message sent to you is so interesting that the “composer” wants to make you keep reading by inserting a short link to lure you into another site.

And opening any external short URL without knowing its destination could be a threat to your details.

If you prefer to be on a safer side, Mobile Banking Watch has put together this guide on how you can conveniently preview bit.ly, tinyURL, ow.ly, goo.gl, t.co, and others on your mobile device.

Plus…

What’s short URL
Short URL Generators: Complete List
Short Links Preview Guide
Third Party tools for shortened URLS

But before that…
In 2013 alone, Juniper Research says 150 million mobile phone users worldwide used their mobile handsets for money transfer, and it’s also predicted that by 2018, 400 million mobile money transfer will take place.

And you know why mobile phone users are now the targets?

Buying and selling, banking, and money transfer and other services are impressively done mostly on phones.

So, knowing where a shortened URL takes you is one of the most important security steps you need to take when you get a veiled link on your device.

What is Short URL
Short Uniform Resource Locator is a method of reducing the characters of an original URL.

This is to make it convenient for messaging platform like twitter which has a maximum of 140-character in a tweet. For instance, the URL http://www.mobilebankingwatch.com/2014/09/social-banking-gatekeeping-Facebook-page-comments.html?m=1 can be shortened to http://goo.gl/fVTmHP.

 Ordinarily, the shortened version is more convenient to use, and it also beautifies a link. Not just that, Google shortener and some other URL shortening service providers make it possible to track clicks.

You can also disguise your underlying address if you desire to use it for legitimate business or for personal reasons.

However, in the world of spam and criminal activities, short links have been abused and will continue to be abused. 

And dubious people are consistently using them to gain access to personal data, particularly on your mobile device because mobile banking is now the new paradigm shift.

Forecast by Digi-Capitalsays mobile internet is to hit $700B revenue come 2017. Mobile internet was $300B in 2013.

Cybercriminals do follow the m-commerce trends and have been exploiting this through every means particularly by hiding behind shortened URLs to “breed” where the money is.

URL Shortening Services: Complete List
There are more than 300 providers of URL shortening service, while some of them are public tools, some are domain-custom.

bit.ly;tinyURL;ow.ly;goo.gl;t.co;yhoo.it; ye.pe; youtu.be;     vb.ly; wapo.st, zipmyurl.com;   yuarel.com; xrl.us; updating.me;wp.me;ping.fm; politi.co;  

readthis.ca;retwt.me; rickroll.it;nyti.ms; post.ly; xutl.jp; url.ie; ulu.lu;tmi.me; to. ; tpm.ly; nn.nf; j.mp;its.my;is.gd;hulu.com; href.in; gurl.es;

oriel.ly;bloom.bg;cnet.co;shorl.com;bbc.in;amzn.to; ff.im; fb.me;  flic.kr; easyurl.net;disg.us; aol.it; buff.ly; dai.ly; mash.to

The alphabetical order of the rest can be found on LongURL 
How To Preview goo.gl, ow.ly, bit.ly, sn.im, tiny.cc and Other Popular Short Links
For security reasons, some of the URL shortening service providers let you preview the full or original URL before clicking on the short link.

This short links preview guide is based on the instructions on some of the short link services. And I hope this is going to answer your question: Where does this short link go?
URL shortners
Preview code
Examples/Comments
Goo.gl
Add a plus sign (+) immediately after the entire goo.gl URL
http://goo.gl/fVTmHP becomes
 http://goo.gl/fVTmHP+
this short URL links to http://www.mobilebankingwatch.com/2014/09/social-banking-gatekeeping-Facebook-page-comments.html?m=1
Bit.ly
Add a plus sign (+) immediately after the bit.ly URL address
http://bit.ly1tfvOfd   will be
http://bit.ly1tfvOfd+ and clicking on it eventually takes you to this long URL http://www.mobilebankingwatch.com/2014/11/20-best-anti-fraud-websites-mbw-choice.html?m=1
Bit.ly Pro (Known as Bitly Enterprise)
Add a plus sign (+) immediately after any bit.ly enterprise accounts like bbc.in, oriel.ly e.t.c. use the same code as bit.ly for bitly enterprise short links
Note: All bit.ly enterprise accounts are paid for. And such accounts use unique and short custom URLs that link exclusively to their own websites Except oreil.ly and a few of others.
bbc.in is managed by BBC News; aol.it is owned by AOL; bloom.bg belongs to Bloomberg News;  amazon.com is the owner of amzn.to; nyti.ms ( owned by The New York Times); while politico.com’s short link is politi.co
Tinyarro.ws
No code is needed, it automatically shows where a link goes. It gives you the long URL version of any short link.
If you click or copy this URL http://➡.ws/mobilebanking to your browser, tinyarro.ws instantly shows you the original destination point of the link, which is:
http://www.mobilebankingwatch.com/2014/07/20-mobile-banking-security-and.html?m=1
The short link could still further be shortened.
Comment:
Click on “Never Show A URL Preview Again” if you wish to disable the automatic preview, but it’s better to let it automatically show you the destination URL.
is.gd
Add hyphen sign (-) at the end of is.gd URL to preview its short link
http://is.gd/sYowxJ goes to: http://www.mobilebankingwatch.com/2014/09/phishiology-forms-and-samples-of-Phishing-scams.html?m=1
Conversely, if you use http://is.gd/sYowxJ- it will still take you to the above long version. For your protection, is.gd will warn you that, “Shortened links can go anywhere on the internet so shouldn’t continue if you got the link from a suspicious source e.g. junk email.”  
TinyURL
Add the word, “preview” immediately after http:// then dot (.) tinyurl.com to see the destination link
http://tinyurl.com/lmnoxam
becomes
http://preview.tinyurl.com/lmnoxam
instead of http://www.mobilebankingwatch.com/2014/08/hijackrat-malware-uninstalls-8-banking-apps.html?m=1 which is a 94-character URL
Note: TinyURL allows you to either “enable preview feature” or “disable previews” I prefer to set my preferences to show a preview of the URL before directly going to any TinyURL link.
Snipurl
Add “peek.” Before snipurl.com
http://snipurl.com/29etdwu 
becomes
http://peek.snipurl.com/29etdwu  . Copy the one with peek and paste in your favourite browser to verify the authenticity of the link before clicking on the extended long URL.
Snipr
Add “peek.” Before snipr.com
http://snipr.com/29etntk
turns to http://peek.snipr.com/29etntk copying the second extension will reveal where you will be landing at.
Snurl.com
Add “peek.” Before snurl.com
If you add “peek” to http://snurl.com/29etq9h, http://peek.snurl.com/29etq9h will take you to a loooooong URL. You can try it. Copy the second link into your browser to view where it goes.
Sn.im
Add “peek” before sn.im
e.g http://sn.im/29gu0aj becomes http://peek.sn.im/29gu0aj
Sn.im,
snurl.com,
Snipurl,
Snipr,
cl.lk
Add “peek” to preview any of them
Note: the five short link extensions are synonymous.  
No code or sign is needed to preview cligs link, it automatically shows you the originals link.
If you copy and paste http://cli.gs/49w8nup into your browser, cligs shows you where the redirect URL goes. If the long version of the URL is your original (say bank URL), there is an option, “Click here to visit this page!”
Make sure that where the link is taking you is not a mimic of your bank URL. If it’s not what you are sure of, stay away or delete it.
Tiny.cc
At the end of a tiny.cc URL, add a tilde “~
Sample: http://tiny.cc/wml7px~  takes you to one of MBW articles, “How to register for AccessMoney”. If you paste the shortened URL into your browser, it shows you the original URL.
sURL.co.uk
No need of adding sign, it shows you the landing address automatically
How to Use SURL redirection
Input the website of your choice into the “ Target” bar
Select from the four available method available
Click on “make this URL”
Note: Short URL, Long URL, Huge URL, and ARE YOU NUTS???? are the four different methods you can choose from, depending on what you want to achieve.
Shortened Links tools
If adding code to any short link is technical for you, I already wrote about shortened URL expanders to help you avoid accounthijack, but here is an updated List of 11 Short Link Expanders That Expose Any Short URL.
 All you need do is copy the link and paste it into the “expand bar” and you get to see the long URL
  • http://getlinkinfo.com
With this guide, you’ll able to preview any short link you constantly get from friends without putting your bank account and your other personal data at risk.
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