All those shortened links that made URLs more convenient and simple actually leave users' sometimes-sensitive information at risk.

In a recently published paper, Professor Vitaly Shmatikov revealed these shortened URLs shared on a cloud server are essentially public and easily hacked.

The researchers used URLs from Microsoft OneDrive and Google Maps shortened through bit.ly. They found by guessing shortened URLs until they found a working one, they could spread malware on a victim’s computer or find places they’ve looked up directions to.

For more on this research:
WIRED
Ars Technica
Forbes
The Next Web
Gizmodo
Motherboard

Read the full paper.