Blink Before You Link!

October 14, 2013 | By Kimberly Reynolds

Comodo Internet security“Don’t go upstairs! Don’t open the door! Don’t turn around!” These are the things I say to myself during a scary movie when I hear the token clueless character say “Did you hear that? I’m going to check it out.” That’s when the character goes to investigate the strange sound in the basement and we all know he’s going to die. “I’ll be right back” the person says. Sure you will… The so-called “brave” character unknowingly ventures down to the dark basement, searching for the strange sound only to find the killer ready and waiting to attack. “I tried to warn you” I say as I shake my head in disappointment.

Why is it so obvious to the audience that the character should not go into the spooky basement, yet, the person in the movie doesn’t pay attention to the warning signs? As much as you try to help them by yelling at the TV, you just can’t stop them.

Blink Before You Link.

Using the same principle described above, being the “clueless” character online who blindly clicks links from unknown sources, can easily turn into a scary situation. Blink before you link means you should not blindly click on a link from an unknown source. If you do not know who the link is coming from or where it will direct you, clicking on it could lead your computer down a spooky, bloody hallway filled with malicious zombies spewing out spam.

Malicious Web Page… Trick Or Treat?

Anytime an event becomes popular, such as Halloween, bad guys make customized malicious web pages and are able to trick browsers into displaying the pages near the top of search results. How? Cybercriminals and online scammers use the same search engine optimization techniques that legitimate retailers use to push their pages to the top of search results.

With Halloween only a few weeks away, countless people are searching for the perfect Halloween costume. Meanwhile, cybercriminals are targeting shopping-related keywords such as “Halloween costumes” and “Halloween sales.”  If you’re performing a similar search, you should be wary of clicking on links from unknown sources in the search results. The danger in this particular search is the bad guys can easily create fake, malicious webpages to trick you into doing any one of the following things:

  • Entering your payment card information
  • Downloading a fake antivirus software pop up
  • Purchasing counterfeit items
  • Downloading hosted malware
  • Leading you into a scam to extract your credit card data

One sure-fire way to tell if you’ve clicked a malicious link is if you end up on a webpage that is completely unrelated to the search term you entered. For instance, if you searched for “Miley Cyrus Halloween costume” and you clicked a link that took you to a page for “free downloads of all your favorite Halloween movies,” you likely clicked a malicious link that intends to install malware on your device by tricking you into downloading a free Halloween movie. Don’t be scared, Comodo is here to protect you against these malicious links.

How To Secure Your Computer Against A Maliciously Spooky Webpage?

Simply X’ing out of the window is safer than doing nothing, but it’s still far from safe. Another option is to shut down the computer and re-boot it. However, even this method is not the safest because the bad guys can still lurk in the shadows. Instead, the safest option is to download a secure browser like Comodo IceDragon to help you stay safe and secure while browsing. IceDragon combines the freedom and functionality of Firefox with the unparalleled security and privacy of Comodo.

Comodo Ice Dragon

Comodo IceDragon has quite a few security features to keep you safe while surfing the sometimes spooky internet. Web Inspector, a feature of IceDragon, uses malware scanning technology, allowing you to check whether a web page is malicious BEFORE you actually visit the page. Using Web Inspector, there are three ways you can scan a page to check for malicious activity.

1. You can scan the page right from the results of a search engine. Simply right-click the link and select ‘Scan Link’ to instruct Web Inspector to visit the target webpage and test it for malware.

Web Inspector

2. You can instantly perform a scan of the page you’re currently on by clicking the button at the top right corner of IceDragon (circled in red).

Comodo Web Inspector

3. You can scan a webpage by typing its URL directly into Web Inspector.

  1. Open a new tab by clicking the ‘+’ button after the last tab on the right.
  2. Click the ‘Web Inspector’ icon. This will open the Web Inspector website at http://app.webinspector.com
  3. Click the ‘Online Scan’ tab
  4. Type the URL of the page you wish to scan and click ‘START THE SCAN’

Comodo Web Inspector

Once the scan is complete, you will see a detailed breakdown of the website’s safety, domain registration details, administrative contacts and a history of previous malware scans on that website.

Your scan may return positive results in which zero malicious activity is detected (shown below).

Comodo Web Inspector

Or, you may see a result that points to a high risk web page, meaning you should not visit the link in question (shown below).

Comodo Web Inspector

Pretty simple, right? Now you have no excuse to blindly venture down into the scary “basement” of an unknown, potentially malicious link. A good rule of thumb is: If you have to question the link for even a second, it’s worth the time it takes to stop and run a scan before you click. When you’re searching for your Miley Cyrus costume, or whatever costume you choose to wear this Halloween season, Blink Before Your Link!

 

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