Home Did you know ? How to Test Suspicious Links Before Clicking Them

How to Test Suspicious Links Before Clicking Them

by Unallocated Author
Avoid Malicious Links

Links can be compared to a mystery box: you never know what lies there until you open it. A wise person should treat links with caution. One never knows the rabbit hole a link could lead to. Caution is of utmost importance. Well, as an internet user, you can’t completely steer clear of links. You see them every day, and quite frankly, they’re enticing you to click. If you ever find a link suspicious, there are a few ways to test it:

Hover over hyperlinks

If you are dealing with a hyperlink, then hover the mouse cursor over the text to uncover the address. Then you can click later, if the address is legitimate. Note that phishing scams links use domain names which are similar to legitimate sites. Observance is the key to catching any frauds. For example, a phishing scam targeting this website may use something like www.latest-hacking-news.com, which appears similar to the real thing. It’s actually www.latesthackingnews.com. Note the differences.

Hovering over hyperlinks decodes where the link leads, and could therefore keep you well informed. The links you see are actually encoded.

Say this link, for example. In HTML code, it looks something like this:  <a href= “https://latesthackingnews.com”>this link</a>.  If I wanted to practice my deceit skills, I could display a link which says: Click this to visit facebook! Truth is, it doesn’t actually take you to Facebook. Try hovering the cursor over it to uncover the true address.

Lengthen shortened URLs

Certain URLs you come across can be seen as a shortened version. Some shortened URLs are legitimate; others are trying to disguise where they come from and what they may hold. Shortened URLs aren’t trustworthy, so ensure pass them though a service like CheckShortURL or Unshorten.It! , in order to lengthen it and uncover the original URL. CheckShortURL is an expand link facility: it allows you to retrieve the original URL from a shortened link before clicking on it and visiting the destination. It provides furthermore information about unshortened URL such as title, description, keywords and author of the page. It also checks if the original URL is on search engines, Twitter, and lets you know if the hidden link is safe or not.

Run links through a malware scanner

As a safety measure, any links you deem as suspicious can be passed through a scanner. An example is VirusTotal. Desktop links, phone links and email links can all be tested. Simply copy the link and paste in the search bar. If the link and its location contain shady stuff, it may be uncovered. Emphasis on “may”. Nothing is a hundred percent guaranteed.

Use a Virtual Machine

Suspicious links can be safely tested by creating a virtual machine. Consider options like VirtualBox or VMware. After making a snapshot of the VM in a good state, open the link. If malicious, only the VM will be affected. In that case, you can simply revert back to the old snapshot.

Testing links is a subject with no concrete answer. The above safety measures may provide some security, albeit just a little.

You may also like

Latest Hacking News

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

The __cfduid cookie is used to identify individual clients behind a shared IP address and apply security settings on a per-client basis.

cookie_notice_accepted and gdpr[allowed_cookies] are used to identify the choices made from the user regarding cookie consent.

For example, if a visitor is in a coffee shop where there may be several infected machines, but the specific visitor's machine is trusted (for example, because they completed a challenge within your Challenge Passage period), the cookie allows Cloudflare to identify that client and not challenge them again. It does not correspond to any user ID in your web application, and does not store any personally identifiable information.

__cfduid, cookie_notice_accepted, gdpr[allowed_cookies]

Advertising

DoubleClick by Google refers to the DoubleClick Digital Marketing platform which is a separate division within Google. This is Google’s most advanced advertising tools set, which includes five interconnected platform components.

DoubleClick Campaign Manager: the ad-serving platform, called an Ad Server, that delivers ads to your customers and measures all online advertising, even across screens and channels.

DoubleClick Bid Manager – the programmatic bidding platform for bidding on high-quality ad inventory from more than 47 ad marketplaces including Google Display Network.

DoubleClick Ad Exchange: the world’s largest ad marketplace for purchasing display, video, mobile, Search and even Facebook inventory.

DoubleClick Search: is more powerful than AdWords and used for purchasing search ads across Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

DoubleClick Creative Solutions: for designing, delivering and measuring rich media (video) ads, interactive and expandable ads.

doubleclick

Analytics

The _ga is asssociated with Google Universal Analytics - which is a significant update to Google's more commonly used analytics service. This cookie is used to distinguish unique users by assigning a randomly generated number as a client identifier. It is included in each page request in a site and used to calculate visitor, session and campaign data for the sites analytics reports. By default it is set to expire after 2 years, although this is customisable by website owners.

The _gat global object is used to create and retrieve tracker objects, from which all other methods are invoked. Therefore the methods in this list should be run only off a tracker object created using the _gat global variable. All other methods should be called using the _gaq global object for asynchronous tracking.

_gid works as a user navigates between web pages, they can use the gtag.js tagging library to record information about the page the user has seen (for example, the page's URL) in Google Analytics. The gtag.js tagging library uses HTTP Cookies to "remember" the user's previous interactions with the web pages.

_ga, _gat, _gid