No matter where you go online you are inevitably faced with a number of links that will try and tempt you to click them. Many will be genuine links that simply advertise the owner’s product or website, but a good number of the links will either lead to malware infested sites, or to adult sites that you would not want your family to view. How can you be sure that the link that you are about to click is safe to visit?
Links on trusted websites are more likely to be trustworthy, but links that are received via email maybe safe or not. You can make your initial judgment call based upon whether or not you know the person who sent the email to you. If they are a trusted friend, and the email has the right tone for them, and is written in their normal style then it may be genuine and a link that you can trust. However if you are unsure, sending them a mail asking them may help.
If the email comes from someone you trust but doesn’t sound right then contact them. Their account may have been compromised by a hacker. It is especially important not to trust emails asking for money, or those stating that they have found a photo or old video of you. Any emails from people that you don’t know shouldn’t be trusted as they are generally just spam or another kind of advertising scam.
There is another risk. Sometimes people just click links without thinking about it. A momentary lapse in concentration that could cost them by leaving them exposed to unknown risks. If you are one of the people who are prone to distractedly clicking, then there are tools that can help you.
AVG Link Scanner and WOT (Web of Trust) are both free tools that can be downloaded as an add-on to your browser. They run quietly in the background, displaying symbols that indicate whether a link is safe or not next to the link. In most cases there will be more information available to tell you why a site is safe or not.
McAfee and Norton anti-virus paid software also both have their own link scanner software that are built into the anti-virus. This helps them to run more quietly in the background as they don’t use their own resources. Any link safe tool should be combined with a good anti-virus software anyway to be sure that no malware can infect your computer, so a combined program such as this is an ideal way of ensuring an adequate level of protection.
If you want to be absolutely sure that the link that you are about to visit is safe, consider only visiting links that come from people or websites that you absolutely trust. Even the online rating programs can occasionally make mistakes or can fail to pick up a potentially dangerous site. Others may be so newly infected that they haven’t been reported yet, and for that reason the best way to avoid dangerous sites is to use caution when browsing the new.