McAfee Cautions About Shortened URLs on Social Sites, HTML 5 and Flash

URL Shortening services are quite the rage because of social networking sites like . However, these shortened URLs could be deadly, at-least for your computers.


According to a new study by McAfee, who are one of the top security software vendors, shortened URLs will be the heavy target for Cyber criminals on sites like Twitter and in 2010.

Over the past decade, we’ve seen a tremendous improvement in the ability to successfully monitor, uncover, and stop cybercrime,said Jeff Green, senior vice president of McAfee Labs. We’re now facing emerging threats from the explosive growth of social networking sites, the exploitation of popular applications and more advanced techniques used by cybercriminals, but we’re confident that 2010 will be a successful year for the cybersecurity community.

In addition to that McAfee also has raised equal threat levels for Adobe Reader and Flash, which are one of the most exploited end-user software. One interesting point in the study is the prediction that HTML5 will induce more attacks, and entice more rogue sites, due to the fact that it is cross-platform and will help them attack more users. McAfee also says that web based OS such as Google Chrome OS would make malware creators shift towards attacking the web more than desktop users.

The release of Google Chrome OS and the technological advancements of HTML 5 will continue to shift user activity from desktop to online applications, creating yet another opportunity for malware writers to prey on users. HTML 5’s anticipated cross-platform support also provides an additional motivation for attackers, enabling them to reach users of many mainstream browsers.

Some points from the McAfee study say this about the threats in 2010:

  • Social Networks Will Be Platform of Choice for Emerging Threats
  • Cybercriminals Continue to Target Adobe Reader, Flash
  • Web Evolution Will Give Cybercriminals New Opportunities to Write Malware
  • Banking Trojans, Email Attachments Delivering Malware Will Rise in Volume, Sophistication
  • Botnet Infrastructure Shifts from Centralized Model to Peer-to-Peer Control

In a recent show of Gillmor Gang, John Borthwick, the founder of Betaworks, which also owns, said that they generate more than 80 million clicks in 24 hours. Imagine the number of clicks generated by all of them combined and the security risks it presents users with.

Several prominent services like and TinyURL have their own security measures in place, however, to be on the safer site and ensure your , make sure to always update your browser and computer, and use security software on your PC.

Many web browsers like Firefox, , , Internet Explorer 7 and 8 provide additional measures to block suspicious sites, if you are using an older browser it is highly advisable to upgrade it to the latest one.

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Keith Dsouza

I am the editor-in-chief and owner of Techie Buzz. I love coding and have contributed to several open source projects in the past. You can know more about me and my projects by visiting my Personal Website. I am also a social networking enthusiast and can be found active on twitter, you can follow Keith on twitter @keithdsouza. You can click on my name to visit my Google+ profile.