Popular URL shorteners, like bit.ly, could be exposing your personal information to others, according to a new study.
Man pinching url image from Shutterstock
A team of researchers at Cornell Tech analysed more than 200 million links that were generated by URL shortener bit.ly. They found that using the links they were actually able to gain access to all kinds of things going on in the content behind them, such as driving routes relating to Google Maps and private documents stored on Microsoft'sOneDrive.
But not only that, researchers believe that this information could be used to add new malware to OneDrive folders, which people would then later sync to their computer. Ouch.
In a blog post about the study, the leader of the research team Vitaly Shmatikov explains that the issue is with the fact URL shorteners unintentionally expose the original URL at the same time as generating a shorter one. So if you're linking to something sensitive or something stored in cloud storage you need to think twice before shortening and sharing.
This article originally appeared on Lifehacker UK