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Twitter launches link-screening service

Bangalore: Aiming to prevent phishing and other malicious attacks against users of the popular microblogging service, Twitter has launched a new link-screening service. Twitter will shorten URLs, so users will see some links in e-mail notifications and direct messages from other users written as twt.tl, Twitter said in a blog post, as reported by Owen Fletcher from PCWorld.

Phishing attacks ballooned on Twitter last year as the service grew in popularity. Twitter’s new link-screening service comes after it last year started using Google’s Safe Browsing API to check for malicious content in links posted by users.

“By routing all links submitted to Twitter through this new service, we can detect, intercept, and prevent the spread of bad links,” said the blog post. “Even if a bad link is already sent out in an email notification and somebody clicks on it, we’ll be able keep that user safe,” it said without elaborating.

Phishing scams on Twitter usually involve attackers trying to obtain the login credentials of Twitter users, and then sending spam messages from the stolen accounts in a bid to make money, Twitter said on its blog last month. Twitter also fights phishing scams by watching for affected accounts and resetting passwords, it said.

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