How can I tell if a website link is safe?

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This is one of the most common calls we handle for our customers and just about everyone has had the experience of receiving an email, text, or instant message with a strange link. Tricking you into clicking on that link is one of the most common ways spammers, hackers or dubious individuals breach a user’s computer.

 

Our natural protective instincts alert us to be suspicious when something looks out of the ordinary and this has saved us from harm over the centuries.  This instinct is triggered in our modern world when we see a website link that looks unusual.  We call this cyber situational awareness and it is one of the most important parts of any personal cyber security protection plan. Listen to this instinct and think before you click.At PCCS we use several methods to validate websites for our customers and one of these is to use open source tools available on the Internet.  We categorize these open source tools into two types, static website analysis and dynamic website analysis.  Static analysis looks at the reputation of a website to see if anyone has reported suspicious activity in the past.  Dynamic analysis involves using a tool to actively scan the website looking for viruses or malicious code.

Static analysis tools are great at identifying spam and malicious websites that have targeted a large set of users.  These tools fall short when the website is new or when the website is customized to a specifically targeted individual.  These are a few of the more popular static tools: 

Our natural protective instincts alert us to be suspicious when something looks out of the ordinary and this has saved us from harm over the centuries.  This instinct is triggered in our modern world when we see a website link that looks unusual.  We call this cyber situational awareness and it is one of the most important parts of any personal cyber security protection plan. Listen to this instinct and think before you click.

At PCCS we use several methods to validate websites for our customers and one of these is to use open source tools available on the Internet.  We categorize these open source tools into two types, static website analysis and dynamic website analysis.

Static analysis looks at the reputation of a website to see if anyone has reported suspicious activity in the past.  Dynamic analysis involves using a tool to actively scan the website looking for viruses or malicious code.

Static analysis tools are great at identifying spam and malicious websites that have targeted a large set of users.  These tools fall short when the website is new or when the website is customized to a specifically targeted individual.  These are a few of the more popular static tools: 

Dynamic analysis tools actually examine the website itself by looking at the code and scanning files for viruses.  These are great at identifying previously unidentified malicious websites but they can take several minutes to fully complete their scans. This is a growing industry and these are a few of the companies that offer this:

 


 John Riley is the Director of Cyber Intelligence at Private Client Cyber Security and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.