Bitly is a popular url shortening service that is widely used and according to Alexa one of the top 4000 websites in the world. It can be used by anyone to turn any link into a shorter version that looks similar to this one: http://bit.ly/1dNVPAW
If you have tried to open the main Bitly website recently or clicked on a link that was shortened by others using the service you may have received a notification in your browser that access to the website has been blocked.
Google Chrome notifies you that "the site ahead contains malware" while Firefox that the site is a "reported attack page".
Both Google Chrome and Firefox use Google's Safe Browsing service to determine whether a site is safe to visit or not.
If you check Google's Safe Browsing page for the service, you get the following information:
It is clear that the service itself is not distributing malicious software directly but that other sites it redirects to are. Since it can be used by anyone to create a new redirection link, it is easy to abuse it for these kind of attacks.
All that is left to be done then is to distribute those links on the Internet to lure users into the trap.
It is possible to visit the site anyway in both browsers. Here is how that is done..
Bypassing the warning can put your computer at risk. It is highly recommended to have some form of protection in place including up to date antivirus software but also browser specific security extensions such as NoScript to block these kind of attacks from affecting your computer.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.