The key to safe web browsing is to avoid websites that are known for phishing, hosting malware/spyware, viruses, or have poor reputation.
One can never be too careful with the links they click from the web, email, or documents. This is an extra step you can take if you ever suspect a ‘bad’ link from an unknown source: visit Norton Safe Web and copy/paste the link in question (avoiding to open said link) into the field provided on the site then hit enter on your keyboard or click the search icon:
To copy a link safely:
Just right-click on the link in question to bring up a context menu, then click Copy shortcut (in Internet Explorer), Copy Link Location (in Firefox), or Copy Link Address (in Chrome). The URL is now copied to your clipboard and you can paste it into the search field in Norton Safe Web.
You’ll then be taken to a “safe web report” page. A green ‘OK’ symbol means the link is safe to visit, anything else means proceed with caution, or avoid completely:
It requires manual intervention to implement this extra layer of security, but it works and is good to have on those rare occasions. So bookmarking it or creating a shortcut to Norton Safe Web will make it more convenient to use. The Cons: you have to manually do it for any link you believe is suspicious, and remember to do it. The Pros: it’s web-based and so no installation is ever needed and it’s completely free to use this service.
- For a while I was using http://scanurl.net which does a similar URL check. I just happen to like the UI of Norton Safe Web a little bit more.
- For a no nonsense approach, there is also Google’s Safe Browsing Site Status check.
Wait… I clicked a bad link before thinking to check…
What happens if you did the unthinkable and clicked on something bad and suspect your computer to have caught something? First calm down. I invite you to check out my Computer Clean Up And Maintenance article which will give advise on what you can do to counter the unthinkable.
Consider Scam Websites
If you tend to do a lot of online purchasing or fill out lots of online forms to enter some sort of “contest” or get that cool “deal”.. just because a website is safe to browse and maybe even purchase from, it doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t scam sites. I cover more on Scam Sites and how to avoid them here: How To Avoid Scam Websites