Look Before You Leap
Two Tools to Help You Determine If a Web Site is Safe
It’s really hard to tell by looking at a web site whether it’s safe or not. And nobody wants to be constrained to visiting only sites they know are safe. Part of the fun of the Web is scouting and finding new and useful sites. But therein lies a danger. Not every site is what it appears to be.
Before we give you a couple of links to help you determine if a Web site is safe or not, we must include this caveat:
No software, no web app, and no person is 100% right 100% of the time. We suggest you use these tools with a modicum of common sense too. You are the last line of defense – you must make your decision based on your own judgment based on research and any other help you can get.
We don’t want you sailing around the web being fearful at every turn – that’s not smart; that’s paranoia.
Now here are a couple of tools you can use to determine if a Web site is safe to use:
URL VOID – just visit http://urlvoid.com/ and paste in the site you’re researching. There’s a good chance, this free service will give you some valuable info about the site you’re thinking about visiting. It’s quick and it’s easy and you don’t need any instructions on how to use it. The newest Web beginner can use this service without a lick of instruction. It’s a tool you can use – but you still have to use your common sense and good security software too.
Virus Total – we’ve recommended Virus Total before to check files you’ve downloaded for viruses and other malware. But now Virus Total has a new feature that will check URLs for you to see if the site you’re visiting may be a malware distributor or worse. Visit Virus Totals’URL checker here, type or copy/paste the URL you want to check into the form on that page. Again, it’s not a substitute for your own good common sense; it is a tool to be used in conjunction with your common sense and good antivirus/anti-malware protection.
It’s always good to know what you’re getting into before you get into it. Sometimes spending a few extra minutes checking things out can save you hours of trouble later on.