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Analyzing Security Implications of URL Shortening Services

With the advent of social networks and Twitter, where public messages are required to fit into 140 characters, compression of long URLs (which often exceed this character limit by themselves) became crucial. A consequence was the widespread use of so called URL shortening services, which compress a URL of arbitrary length to below 20 characters.

This thesis analyzes implications on security and privacy when using URL shortening services. It is evaluated what risks exist for the privacy of users, the security of their machines (browser, operating system), and for the security of server machines. Furthermore, the use of URL shortening services in malware distribution and email-spam is examined.

 

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Graduand: Alexander Neumann

Supervisor: Johannes Barnickel