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These days, malicious emails have become quite common among users. Cyber-criminals tend to pretend to be someone else and try to lure users by sending emails or SMS using the names of some huge organizations. This is where you need to find ways to check link safety of URL before visiting a website that was attached to the mail or the SMS or any other source.
There are plenty of ways to inspect a URL before clicking and allowing the virus or malware to enter your device. So, in this post, I will be listing 5 ways to check the safety of the link before you visit the particular website.
1. Hover Over The URL
It is probably the most basic way to check a URL and uncover the mask that is used to cover the website and give it a completely different or shortened URL. All you need to do is hover the cursor on the URL and you can see the unmasked or original website in the bottom left corner of your browser.
Hover Here and check the bottom left corner of the browser to unmask the original website.
2. Secure Lock
It is a pad-lock which indicates the security or the encryption system of the particular URL that is being viewed in the address bar at the top. Being clear, the secure lock tells that the site is safe to visit. However, going deep into the technicalities, it requires an SSL certificate for the website to have the Secure Lock.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is a technology that ensures an encrypted pathway or link between the user and the server while using a web browser. These days, you can just click on the Secure lock beside the address bar and see whether the website is safe or not i.e. mentioned there itself.
An HTTPS:// link is secure and mostly has the SSL certificate with the secure lock but an HTTP:// link tends to lack the security lock and the SSL certificate as well.
3. Google Transparency Report
Google is the biggest name in this list, it is pretty evident that users will be inclined towards Google’s services more as compared to others. There’s a safe and simple tool that will just show whether the URL or the site is safe or not and that’s it.
Unlike other services, it won’t show the detailed scans that are run through the URL. Surely, it is trustworthy and quick as well. Also, it is quite obvious because Google tends to terminate hundreds of unsafe websites regularly. So, you can expect the analysis by this tool to be quite strong and reliable.
- A Google product.
- Quick and easy to use.
- Strong and huge database.
- Less information regarding the reports of the URL.
Verify URLs on Google Transparency Report
4. Virus Total
This is a web-based service which tends to scan the URLs to show and report any kind of malicious behaviour of the particular websites. Also, a website’s data is shared with the community which makes sure to maintain the database of different websites and their data.
The process is quite easy and quick. Paste the URL or search for the particular website and within a second you can check whether it is safe to visit or not. The “Security Vendors” maintain a certain database and approve the website security for the users, which is managed by various cyber security communities.
- The concept of Security Vendors.
- Community participation allows versatility with genuine results.
- Excellent UI.
- Detailed reports of the URLs or websites.
- None, as of now.
Scan URL on Virus Total
5. Dr.Web Link Checker
It is an extension which allows scanning the particular URL with a right click within the page. In addition, it also works as an Ad-blocker and hides all kinds of flash content on a web page.
After you scan the URL, it performs all kinds of tests on the URL and shows whether the web page is safe to visit or not. The process is seamless and quick. It shows all the basic tests that are run to ensure the website’s safety. Overall, it is a decent extension to check the security of certain URLs.
- Easy and quick to use.
- Shows different tests that are run.
- The UI seems a little outdated.
Add Dr.Web Link Checker to your browser
Bitdefender is one of the most popular service providers in the IT sector especially when it comes to anti-virus or anti-malware services. This service by Bitdefender is one of the most optimized and basic tools available in the web store regarding URL scanning and stuff.
Overall, it is a reliable tool and tends to be accurate enough most of the time. There are also options to avoid certain URLs and scan them manually which is good enough.
- Trusted service provider.
- Direct and upfront indicator.
- No detailed reports after the scanning of the URL.
- Need to activate the extension once you exit the search engine.
Add TrafficLight to your browser
Tip: Enable “Secure Connections”
This option can be enabled in the Chrome browser, which basically allows the browser to redirect the user only to a secure connection i.e. an HTTPS:// URL. Here is how you can do it,
Step 1. Open Chrome browser.
Step 2. Navigate to the Settings option.
Step 3. Open the Privacy and Security options and scroll down, click on Security.
Step 4. Then, scroll down again and go on to the Advanced section.
Step 5. Now toggle the Always use secure connections button on and done.
This way your Chrome browser will try its best to keep your browsing safe and tend to redirect or disable you from unsafe websites. You can also enable such features and it depends upon the options provided by all the other browsers.
How do I make sure links are safe?
You can use any of the mentioned ways above to verify the URL before visiting the site and be safe.
What does it mean when a link is unsafe?
It means, it contains malicious content which can be used to infect your system with malware, viruses and many more elements to hack into your system.
What happens if you open a link that was hacked?
Well, it depends on the aim of the hacker. It might be the installation of spyware or ransomware or other kinds of viruses. It happens quickly and you won’t even know that you have been hacked.
Hence, these were the ways to check and inspect the safety of an URL before visiting the website. Share it with all your friends and family who tend to have less knowledge about cybersecurity and save them from getting scammed.