Millions of computers are infected by viruses and other forms of malware every month, and a large percentage of those infections occur as the result of clicking on a bad link. That’s why I’ve written several times in the past about the importance of avoiding links that will take you to an unfamiliar website.
But there’s a problem. With so many people using shortened URLs on Facebook and Twitter, it seems all but impossible to determine where a link will take you without clicking on it first. Well, now there is an easy way to determine exactly where a shortened link will take you, and even get a quick “opinion” from security experts about just how safe the landing page is!
URL Uncover is a free service that will immediately investigate any shortened link you paste into its search box and give you a pretty good indication of whether you can safely visit that page or not. I’ve been using it for a while now, and it works extremely well.
Here are the steps for using URL Uncover to investigate the safety of a shortened link:
1 – Copy the shortened link by highlighting it and pressing the Ctrl+C key combination. If you were able to copy the link successfully, skip to step 2.
If you have trouble highlighting the link using Internet Explorer, right-click on the link and click Properties. A box will pop up with a plain text version of the link inside which you can easily highlight and copy. If you’re using Firefox, right-click on the link and click Copy link location. In Chrome, right-click on the link and click Copy link address.
2 – After the shortened link has been copied to the clipboard, visit www.urluncover.com and paste it into the search box.
3 – Click the Uncover button. You’ll see a blue circle and the word “Retrieving” while the link is being investigated. It should only take a few seconds.
After the link has been checked out, you should see a table containing the title of the URL’s landing page, a short description and a trust level. A trust level of “green” means there have been no reports of problems or dangers associated with the page. The message in the red box below the table will tell you whether the website’s IP address has been reported as malicious to SpamCop.
If you determine from the information given that the page is safe (and one that you still want to visit) you can just click the green Proceed to URL button to visit the page.