The URL is much more than a way to access Internet pages. Although they seem to be just a basic tool, the addresses of pages hold important information, being increasingly used to personalize content on social networks, and even to hit the web.
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Companies whose pages are specific to mobile phones, in turn, can count on a special URL. In addition, there are an increasing number of tools and services that allow adapting frequently used addresses, using a URL shortener. Check below the URL and other important points of mobile sites and Internet portals.
What does URL mean? Addresses are important elements for the use of the Internet in various devices Photo: Felipe Alencar / TechTudo
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A URL, basically, is the virtual address of a page or website. The acronym comes from the English language and means "Uniform Resource Locator". Through the URL, a page that would be accessible only by a string of numbers can be converted by the DNS system.
In this way, the page can be accessed through an address for easier memorization. Therefore, all elements that make up a URL follow a uniform pattern, through which it is possible to identify its different parts, such as the protocol, the domain and the subdirectories.
What URL? Understand how Internet addresses work Photo: Divulgao / Creative Commons
Each of the parts that make up a URL has specific functions and meanings. Generally, an address is composed of the sequence formed by protocol, domain and extension, to which the reference to a subdirectory can be added.
In the case of a URL like "https://www.meusite.com.br/meublog", the item "https" is the protocol, the string "meuite.com.br" refers to the domain, and the final part "/ meublog ", once juxtaposed to the domain, indicates the subdirectory. There is also the subdomain variable: in relation to URLs like "www.google.com" and "images.google.com", for example, the current variation between "www" and "images" is a subdomain variable, referring to the domain main, "google.com".
What URL? Web addresses are usually at the top of the browser Photo: Reproduo / Marvin Costa
Protocols can vary, generally, between FTP, used for transmitting files, and HTTP. There is also the most secure version of the HTTP protocol, which is called HTTPS. This is a way in which the pages are encrypted, which gives them greater security.
through this signaling evidenced in the protocols of a URL that Google, through the Chrome browser, established its criterion for dividing between secure pages and non-secure pages, having even classified all pages with the "HTTP" protocol as dangerous. Pages with HTTPS protocol, in turn, are usually presented next to a lock symbol, which certifies that the site is secure.
URL with HTTPS protocol considered more secure Photo: Pond5
Although each element of a URL has a meaning and a function, they can work even when their view changes. Because of this, there are a number of features that allow users to change the URLs they use most often, in order to make them more practical and easier to remember.
In order to make sharing URLs in posts on social networks more practical, Google, for example, created the tool Goo.gl URL Shortner, or simply Goo.gl. Through this tool, it is possible to shorten a URL, so that they use fewer characters in posts with a size limit, such as those required by Twitter. Another well-known option is Bit.ly.
Bit.ly allows you to use URL shorteners for simpler addresses Photo: Reproduo / Clara Barreto
Another feature offered by Google is the extensive ".new". This is a series of shortcuts offered through the Chrome search bar, through which it is possible to quickly open resources from external companies, such as Medium, eBay and Spotify.
Thus, shortcuts like "doc.new" or "slide.new", for example, can open a blank document or slide show on Google, respectively. The shortcut "playlist.new" opens a page that allows the creation of a new playlist on Spotify, while "sell.new" opens a sale page on eBay.
In addition, it is possible to customize links on some social networks, such as Facebook. In this way, a user can change the URL created automatically by the platform and generate addresses that are easy to remember for the content with which they interact. In Mark Zuckerberg's network, a user can also change the URL of a page or even change the URL of a group.
Facebook allows you to customize the page URL on the social network Photo: Melissa Cosseti / TechTudo
Another important aspect of the URL is the indication that they bring about the ideal support for viewing the desired page on the computer or on the cell phone. That is why there are addresses with the extension ".mobi" and others with the subdomain "m.".
URLs with these elements refer to the so-called "mobile sites", designed specifically for viewing on the cell phone. There are several methods and tools to create a mobile website, especially considering that more and more access to websites is through smartphones.
The design of a mobile site is a crucial point, as it prevents it from being viewed with errors and wrong proportions on the user's cell phone. Therefore, being able to directly access a mobile site through a specific URL is a useful tool for users.
Sites must be adapted to access them by cell phone Photo: Pond5
There is a debate about the different forms of mobile URL and which one should be used. ".Mobi" extensions can have a good impact on mobile searches. The "m." it allows a juxtaposition with extensions that vary according to the different countries in which the same website has different URLs.
Having a specific URL for mobile sites, therefore, can be a decisive strategy for companies and startups that aim to reach mainly users who must access their pages through their cell phone. In this case, it is important that website administrators seek the service of registering URLs that offer the variation "m." in a domain, or the extension ".mobi".
In this case, for example, the URLs "m.amazon.com" and "m.amazon.com.br" allow you to access mobile versions of different websites, while "www.amazon.mobi" would not allow you to distinguish websites in different countries.
Responsive design websites adapt to different screen sizes Photo: Divulgao / Blogger
The concern with URLs becomes less important, however, when it comes to a website designed with "responsive design". A responsive website identifies the type of support used by the user who accesses it. It is, therefore, a page that knows how to identify if its user is using a PC, a cell phone or a tablet. Thus, it quickly adapts used platform.
An example of a tool that helps responsive design is Accelerated Mobiles Pages (AMP). It is an open source HTML platform that prioritizes the user experience, through the creation of a webpage standard that can be opened quickly on smartphones. It can be used both to create new pages as well as to adapt pages created on other platforms, such as WordPress.
Internet scams using URL
It is a crucial aspect of URLs that, through them, it is possible to apply scams on the Internet. Attacks such as phishing, a scam responsible for 90% of thefts that occur on the web and that hijacks user information, can be applied with changed URLs, or even through the deception of users who make typos when searching for a particular virtual address. .
There are several methods to apply scams using URLs. Some cybercriminals use letters that are exchanged, sometimes with characters from different fonts, in order to confuse users without realizing that they are using a fake website.
Phishing: scam that causes 90% of thefts on the web can be done with changed URL Photo: Pond5
A modality of virtual attack through the URL is the homographic attack, which occurs through the registration of fake domains. The registration can be done with simple details, which result in a URL as close as possible to others of recurring use. In this case, it is enough for a cybercriminal to register, for example, a domain such as "youttube.com" with two "t" instead of "youtube.com" to attract inattentive users.
A famous case of homographic attack took place through the e-commerce site of Mercado Livre, as a result of which cybercriminals created the URL "rnercadolibre.com", with a juxtaposed "r" and "n". There are, however, more complex cases of homographic attacks, in which Cyrillic characters are used instead of ASCII characters, which creates almost imperceptible differences for users.
False back of the Mercado Livre website with exchanged letters Photo: Reproduo / ESET
Google has already fixed the Chrome issue with encodings compatible with ASCII characters, which allowed it to process domains registered with different alphabets in local language, thus resulting in greater chances of homographic attacks. The browser, in this case, ended up anticipating the competitor Firefox in combating attacks through URLs.
Another technique widely used by cybercriminals is "typosquatting", which consists of taking advantage of common typos on the Internet and creating fake websites that can promptly steal data and information from users.
Imagine, for example, a trend in which many people type in the URLs "www.tectudo.com.br" or "www.tehctudo.com.br", instead of "www.techtudo.com.br". Upon perceiving the recurrence of the address, cybercriminals could set up a page accessible through this URL and, thus, encourage dangerous clicks by inattentive users.
Google plans to change URL
Concerned about Internet security, Google has already expressed an interest in ending the URL system as it is known today. The proliferation of fake websites and phishing scams are part of the justifications alleged by the company to end the use of addresses and replace them with another method of accessing websites.
Google argues that the length of current URLs leaves users confused Photo: Gabrielle Lancellotti / TechTudo
Google believes that the greater complexity of URLs, the very possibility of shortening and customizing them, as well as the use of targeting data by e-commerce sites, are all factors that have made virtual addresses more dangerous since the past decade. 1990.
However, there is still much resistance to transformation. The simple fact that it is no longer explicit that HTTPS websites are safe, stressing, on the other hand, that HTTP websites would be dangerous, was a decision by Google that generated a lot of controversy. Therefore, it is likely that URLs will continue to track users on the Internet for some time.
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