Twitter to begin screening some links for phishing

New Twitter link-screening service includes a tool that shortens URLs in some links in email notifications and direct messages

Twitter has launched a new link-screening service aimed at preventing phishing and other malicious attacks against users of the popular microblogging service.

Part of the new service is a new Twitter tool to shorten URLs, so users will see some links in email notifications and direct messages from other users written as twt.tl, Twitter said in a blog post.

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"By routing all links submitted to Twitter through this new service, we can detect, intercept, and prevent the spread of bad links," the blog post said. "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.

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.

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