Free tool protects Twitter users from malware hiding behind tiny URLs

LinkScanner screens Web sites before allowing content to reach users’ machines

AVG Technologies is offering a free software tool to protect Twitter users from malicious sites that lurk behind shortened URLs.

8 free Twitter clients for better tweeting

LinkScanner checks out URLs before browsers actually connect to Web sites, stripping out any malware they may contain. It first matches URLs against an internal black list of known harmful sites, then filters traffic as it comes in from Web sites, says Roger Thompson, chief research officer at AVG.

It looks for 800 to 900 exploits that are used over and over again by hackers. The software connects with AVG’s network periodically to update its library.

URL shortening tools such as TinyURL make it possible to post a URL of any length in 25 characters so they fit within a 140-character Twitter message. But that obscures the name of the actual site, which might be a clue that the site is dangerous.

The AVG tool screens any Web site, not just those being reached through Twitter.

Plug ins for browsers Firefox and Internet Explorer reveal the underlying URLs so users can bail out of connecting with them if they recognize them as malicious or suspect they are. But these plug ins don’t actually filter traffic from these sites for malware.

LinkScanner works in concert with anti-virus software, Thompson says. The free tool isn’t sufficient to protect Internet connected machines, so he hopes that by getting LinkScanner for free that users will consider buying AVG’s broader security suite that includes anti-virus software.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags tinyurlAVGURLstwitter

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tim Greene

Network World
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?