It's handy when you can shorten your urls when on Twitter, given that you only have 140 characters to work with, right? Well, the tool that becomes handy also leaves all of us more vulnerable to a cyber attack. That's because you can't tell where the shortened url is going to take you and so you can end up going to malicious sites or downloading malware that can infect your computer.
So what to do?
Well, one easy way is to use a twitter tool like Tweetdeck which offers you the option to preview shortened urls. When you enable that option, you can see the url's destinate page title as well as the entire url to determine if you want to visit that site or not.
You can also install a URL-preview plug-in that is offered by most browsers. When you use url shortening tools such as ExpandMyURL and LongURLPlease you can also enable plugins which can verify the safety of the full url.
I get a lot of DM's (direct messages) where someone or the other wants me to go to a certain site to view something. I rarely click on those urls in the first place. But when I do, I make sure that I know the person sending me the url, preview the url, and then only open the site. If someone posts a url link with a news item, rather than clicking on the link, I do a Google search on the news item and find my information that way.
We can never be too careful these days what with all the robots and cyber criminals that have invaded social networking sites. Taking simple precautions can go a long way in protecting your computer and your data so make the time to implement these simple safeguards today.