Whether you’re accessing popular social networking sites or other communication apps such as your webmail portal and IM clients, the links let you dive into a world of new information. With one click, you may end up enjoying a great story, or on the other hand unfortunately trying to crawl your way out of a potentially harming website.
You may have your anti-virus and malware removal tools programs installed, but they will not prevent you from clicking any of those potentially-harmful-but-so-interestingly-looking Twitter, Facebook or email links. Even if you have security toolbars and add-ons installed, the following online tools may help you find out whether a website really is safe, especially if you would like to get a second opinion (e.g. you suspect the site’s review hasn’t been updated) or if you decide that you don’t need more add-ons slowing your browser’s performance.
Want An Analysis Of A Website’s Safety? Try McAfee’s SiteAdvisor
When you first access McAfee’s SiteAdvisor, you may see more of SiteAdvisor’s software (a self-updating security toolbar that we covered before) than the web application that serves a similar purpose as the toolbar. Locate the textbox in the right sidebar under the heading of View a Site Report and enter your site’s URL.
Besides the big sticker at the beginning of the report, SiteAdvisor reports the website’s online affiliations and has numerous community member reviews/ratings. As if that’s not enough, you can also view a detailed analysis that SiteAdvisor offers on another page because this is a long list of the downloads it encountered on the submitted website. SiteAdvisor tests whether these downloads are crapware.
Find more details on our SafeWeb article.
Want To Report A Suspicious Site? Jump to Phishtank!
Phishtank can help you decipher whether a site is phish which, according to the site, is a fraudulent attempt to steal the site visitor’s information. If you sign up to be a registered user, you can also submit a phishing site and also verify other users’ reported phishing sites.
Just Want To Know If A Site Is A Go Or No-Go?
If you are only interested in knowing whether a site is safe and want to skip the details of the analyses, Online Link Scan collects and summarizes the threat reports of the aforementioned Phishtank, AVG and Google Safe Browsing engines. It paints a clear and simple picture of whether a site is clean. What is not as simple are the number of ads surrounding the textbox and summary chart.
Relevant Bookmarklets & Addons
If you use Twitter constantly, then you probably get lots of shortened links to other sites. For your browser’s safety, you should check out our article on LongURLPlease’s bookmarklet and Firefox addon that reveals the location of shortened URLs. Also, check out these great Twitter tips to help your identity remain protected. If you’re more of an IM person, swing by our IM security hacks post.
If you often Google random topics, you may face a lot of new websites with promising names that sometimes sound too good to be true. If so, you may benefit from browser addons that will warn and stop you from entering potentially unsafe sites: AVG’s Linkscanner (browser addon that highlights potential threats) and WebOfTrust (featured along with eight, and ten other great security and privacy addons).
Do you know of another web app that scans sites for malware? Feel free to tell us in the comments.
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