When we receive a suspicious link It’s fundamental try East before of open it. It is normal that in our day to day on the web we receive messages or emails with links to different websites. Not all websites are trustworthy, some can harm us just by opening them in our web browser. So it is absolutely essential to be very careful when opening a link.
Check it out for ourselves
When we see a link we have a simple way to verify if the URL of this link is trustworthy or generates some kind of doubt. If we are on a computer, we simply hover over the link without clicking. In web browsers, at the bottom left we will see the real address to which it will take us if we click. In the case of mobile devices, we will simply have to press and hold the link to bring up the real address in a dialog box.
For example, we can try it with www.islabit.com and with www.anexample.com. Both links will direct us to the islaBit website. However, the second one has a different anchor text. Precisely for this reason we should check the real URL to which it will take us. The reason is simple, we can see at first glance a website that seems reliable, but the link takes us to another similar one with bad intentions.
So the first thing would be to check that the sites match, although we can see other strange things when we mouse over a link. We can also come across shortened links that are often used to trick people. There are many ways to shorten links and worst of all, it is too simple to do. Websites like Tinyurl can be used to shorten links.
Despite this, not all shortened links are dangerous, many of them will take us to trusted sites. Actually, the idea behind short links is to make URLs more manageable. Unfortunately, there is no good way to visualize where they lead and it is often a tool used by scammers.
In case we are not sure that the web address is trustworthy, be it a short link or an ordinary address. We can then make use of different online tools to check where it leads without the need to visit it.
To achieve this, we will have to move the mouse over the link that we want to verify and left click on it (on mobile devices, we will keep the link pressed) and in the context menu, we will see that the option Copy link address or a similar text will appear , varies slightly depending on the browser.
The next thing will be to paste it into a search engine. We can use Google for this, we simply visit the search engine’s website and paste the link in the search box to get results. Although this will not work with shortened links.
However, there is a way to “unshorten” shortened URLs in order to find the website it points to. For this we are going to need to use a site that is capable of offering us this possibility, that of unmasking links.
For this we are going to use CheckShortURL[.]com or Unshorten[.]Item. The way to use it is really quite simple, we are going to have to paste the shortened link in the bar that is at the top and we will click on Expand or Unshorten.
The tool will have to process the link, but we’ll get a detailed report and the URL it points to. In turn, we will also find interesting information about whether the page is reliable or not.
Check a URL
In case we want to check if a URL is trustworthy, we are going to have to use some tools to achieve it. To verify that the link does not take us to a malicious website or spread malware, we are going to use URLVoid. All we have to do is enter the web address of the site we want to visit and we will see various reports that will tell us if there is any kind of problem with the page. For example, if we see the message “Nothing Found” in green in all the analyzes, it means that the website is fully trusted.
In case phishing scams are what you are most worried about, then we have another useful web service that will allow you to stay safe at all times. PhishTankis a site that compiles a list of known phishing sites.