You must have heard of many services which shorten the URL such as Bit.ly and others. These services were introduced as a result of introduction of micro-blogging platforms such as Twitter. These URL shortening service became so popular that even Google, Stumbleupon and Facebook have introduced these services of their own. But few people started to use these services for malicious purposes such as disguising malware and spywares in these shortened URLs. You click them thinking they were linking to content you are searching for but instead you end up with malwares or spywares. You can avoid this issue by using URL expanding services.
URL expanding services take the shortened URL and convert this URL into its actual form. Consider this example: I shorten the URL of my website http://www.nerdcrunch.com using Bit.ly service and end up with lets say bit.ly/AQ23W45. I send you this shortened URL but only I know what the actual URL is. I can put anything malicious and send it your way using this technique. But you can check the actual URL by using URL expanding services. Just place the shortened URL in the URL expanding service and it will reveal the actual URL. Nice and easy, saving you from getting anything malicious. Following are the list of URL expanding services available on the internet as well addons for Firefox and extensions for Chrome:
Firefox Addon – Expand Short URL:
Firefox Addon – Long URL Please:
Chrome Extension – Tactical URL Expander:
Chrome Extension – ChromeMUSE :
If you are interested in using any of these services, just click on the image and you will be redirected to them.