Unshorten.link is a website and Chrome extension that provides you protection against malicious shortened links by allowing you to unshorten urls.
What is link shortening
Link shortening is a way to take a very long URL and make it shorter so it’s easier to share. You’ve probably seen a link that starts with bit.ly or t.co, those are services that will take a long link, shorten it, and return the shorten link for you to share. I’ve talked about the Google URL shortener in the past, which I really liked. Unfortunately, Google has discontinued the service.
Most of the services already check for security issues with the link, but the security risk with link shortening is that the ever doer can change the destination of the link. Today the shortened link points to a safe site, tomorrow it may not.
Unshorten URLs with Unshorten.link
Unshorten.link is a website and Chrome extension that will check the final destination of the shortened link. The free version provides basic safety features. If you want more there is a pro version available.
I tested the Chrome extension. Installation was simple, although at the end a page popped up wanting me to upgrade to pro. I closed the tabs, but that step may confuse students.
Unfortunately, like all automated services, Unshorten.link can’t be perfect. It could make web surfing safer for students and staff. Since students and staff deal with shortened urls a lot showing them how to unshorten urls will help keep them safe.
The need for shortened URLs
Fortunately, devices have gotten easier and easier with the ability to share address with students, so the need to shorten URLs has diminished. Students and staff will still face shortened URLs at various times, that is what services such as Unshorten.link exist.