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Before you click that link..

Posted by Michael Bloch in online world (Friday July 21, 2006 )

Ever run a search and seen some listings that you’re itching to click on, but something tells you that they could be sites containing malicious code? Perhaps you’ve been caught out before by clicking on a seemingly innocuous link only to find you land on a site that tries to install malware on your computer?

You can take some of the guesswork and danger out of your surfing with a new free online service called LinkScanner from Exploit Prevention Labs.

It’s very simple to use; just copy and paste the URL into the box and click scan. I ran a few tests on it earlier and it appeared to be spot on each time; correctly identifying “clean” sites versus those that might present some risk of spyware, rootkits, and other malware.

For example, I ran a search on serial numbers for a particular popular software product and copied a link from one of the listings into LinkScanner. After a few seconds of Link Scanner churning over the URL, I was presented with an alert screen that stated:

“STOP! LinkScanner has detected a malicious site.

The page you were checking contains a link to the page http://XXXX.XXX which is on a site that is known to contain malicious code. You should not click on this link without appropriate anti-exploit protection on your PC.

This malicious site is found at the following address: [XXXXXXXX] You may safely click on this address to do a “reverse lookup” to see who owns this malicious site”

The X’s are my edit, Link Scanner does display the details.

A very handy little tool and kudos to the team at Exploit Prevention Labs for making it freely available! A definite must to add to your bookmarks. The few seconds it takes Link Scanner to process the URL could save you some major headaches, not to mention your online business!

Bear in mind though that tools such as these, as useful as they are, should never be used as a replacement for good old fashioned common sense – your eyes and intuition should be your first line of defense, not your last ;).

Related:

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2 comments for Before you click that link..
  1. Reminds me of
    http://www.scandoo.com/

    Google, MSN, Yahoo and Ask results with site security information.

    These two need to be combined!!

    Comment by Gareth — July 21, 2006 @ 10:37 pm

  2. Scandoo looks to be a nifty service Gareth, thanks for mentioning it!

    Comment by Michael Bloch — July 21, 2006 @ 10:54 pm

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