Is the link in that email legitimate? Whether sent by a friend or a stranger, it's unwise to click links without knowing where they take you.
One of the quickest-growing security issues these days is ransomware, which is often spread by people unwittingly clicking dangerous links in emails, social networks, messengers, and other collaboration tools. Malware and phishing sites are also major risks.
While you should be vigilant about all your online activities, it doesn't hurt to have a little help. Here are several tools to check if a link is safe.
What a Link Checker Should Do
There are two types of URL:
- A standard-length URL, starting www, followed by the website name, and ending with .com or some other top-level domain.
- A shortened URL, such as goo.gl/V4jVrx.
It doesn't matter whether the link you received is a standard-length URL or shortened. If it is dangerous in any way, a link checking tool should alert you to this.
If the links are going to take you to a compromised website, the link checker will highlight this immediately. Similarly, direct links to malware, ransomware and other risks should be reported by these tools.
The following safe link checker sites will help you uncover the truth about those dodgy links. Check more than one at any given time to give you the best results.
1. How to Check Link Safety With Norton Safe Web
Another way to check a link for viruses or malware is to rely on this from online security giant Norton.
To scan a URL for malware, simply paste the URL into the checking field and click the search button. Norton Safe Web will them display a rating and community reviews about the website. If you want to add your own voice, you can create an account and join the community of link checkers.
As well as its browser-based link checker. Norton Safe Web offers two further tools:
- Norton Safe Search Extension is a Chrome address bar enhancement that adds quick safe search functionality to your browser
- Norton Home Page Extension brings safe search into all your search engine results
Both options will test links for safety before you click them and are ideal for safely browsing the web.
2. Is This Link Safe? Check With ScanURL
Another link checking tool to consider, ScanURL is an independent website that takes your link query submissions seriously via a secure HTTPS connection. Although the spam link checker is ad-supported, the results are good. You can also provide an explanation of where you saw the URL to help other users avoid it.
ScanURL polls Google Safe Browsing Diagnostic, PhishTank, and Web of Trust and provides information about the queried site's Whois record. The returned results will instantly indicate whether you should visit the site and are accompanied by a ScanURL recommendation.
Avoid the site if the results list it as dangerous.
Several sites (including some in this list) and tools are checked by ScanURL as it collates the results. Once the ScanURL result page has loaded, a permanent URL is applied. You can copy and paste this to share with friends, family, or the otherwise concerned for them to refer to. Handy!
3. PhishTank – the Phishing Link Checker
Instead of focusing on malware, PhishTank instead lets you tell if a link is safe or if it will send you to a phishing site.
Once you enter a URL that you suspect of harboring a phishing operation, PhishTank will check it out. If the link is already "in the tank" then you'll get instant results. Otherwise, the site will provide a tracking number. Sadly, it's not as simple to check a phishing link as it is to automatically check some malware links…
Related: Types of Phishing Attack You Should Know About
Concerned about sites that might con you into divulging personal data? If you have any knowledge of identity theft, then you'll know this often occurs due to phishing operations. PhishTank is always worth a visit when checking if a link is safe.
PhishTank is operated by OpenDNS. Anyone can contribute to the site and verify links that have been submitted by other users.
4. How to Check If a Link Is Safe With Google Transparency Report
Google also offers a useful link checking service. The Transparency Report service offers a standard field into which you can enter the URL you're concerned about. A few seconds later, the results---captured by Google's web crawlers---will tell you if the site can be trusted.
Along with malware, Google Transparency Report will alert you to phishing risks. Concerned about accidentally giving your personal information away? Phishing is potentially a greater concern than malware, so it makes sense to be sure that the site you're planning on visiting isn't about to steal your identity.
5. Use VirusTotal Safe URL Checker
Offering a browser-based multi-function scanning tool, VirusTotal analyzes "suspicious files and URLs to detect types of malware." The results of the scans are then shared with the online security community. Simply visit the site, click URL, then paste the link in and search.
A simple tool that will give you instant results, VirusTotal can also check link safety in its Android and Windows apps.
For developers, VirusTotal offers public and private APIs. While limited to non-commercial projects, these can be used to create your own file and link scanning tool on your website.
6. PSafe Dfndr Lab Suspicious Link Checker
Easy to use, the dfndr lab tool from PSafe helps you test a link for safety with a single click.
Just copy the URL you're querying from an email, web page, instant message, etc. into the search tool. Click Check URL to see the result.
If the website is found in the dfndr lab database, the site will display where or not you can trust it. If not, or if the site is not found, you'll be encouraged to exercise caution: "If you are not 100% confident in the URL or website, you should not click on it."
Unlike the other link checkers listed here, dfndr lab relies on machine learning to detect "potentially unsafe URLs." In addition, links are cross-referenced with suspect URLs from other resources, while in-house analysis is carried out if the other tests prove inconclusive.
Read More: What Are Machine Learning Algorithms?
7. How to Know If a Link Is Safe With URLVoid
Finally, there's URLVoid, a tool to help you "detect potentially malicious websites." As with the other tools, simply input the suspect URL and wait for the site to check it. You'll find information about the URL and its history, any black ticks against it, and where the site is based if that information has been made public.
A list of services that URLVoid uses to generate its results is also displayed, with famous names including Avira, BitDefender, and PhishTank among them.
If you need to scan an IP address, URLVoid offers a companion service, IPVoid. For developers, URLVoice also provides APIvoid so you can create your own link safety checker.
Which Link Checkers Do You Use?
We've collated the best URL checkers around, testing them to ensure they're and perfect for keeping you safe online. These sites should deliver the confirmation you need when checking sketchy links:
- Norton Safe Web
- Google Transparency Report
- PSafe dfndr lab
These sites will protect you from all manner of link-based security threats, from malware and ransomware to spoof emails and websites attempting to phish your details.
How do I check if a link is safe? ›
Using website legit checker is easy. Go to the URL checker webpage at https://www.Email Veritas.com/url-checker; type the link in the search box and click the Search icon. URL checker will check whether the link is safe and quickly display the results.What are the 4 steps to verify a link is safe? ›
- Hover Over the Link. Sometimes a link masks the website to which it links. ...
- Use a Link Scanner. Link scanners are websites and plug-ins that allow you to enter the URL of a suspicious link and check it for safety. ...
- Check Out Shortened Links. ...
- Copy a Link—Safely.
Just hover over a suspicious link—the mouse pointer should change into a pointing finger—and check the target of the link at the bottom of the window. This way, you'll know whether or not the link is taking you to the site you're expecting.What does a safe link look like? ›
A secure website's URL should begin with “https” rather than “http”. The “s” at the end of “http” stands for secure and is using an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) connection. Your information will be encrypted before being sent to a server.Is there a safe way to open a suspicious link? ›
If you don't want to interact with the suspicious webpage and instead just quickly want to see what it is, the easiest and safest way to open the link is probably by using an online screen capturing service for websites (e.g., https://www.screenshotmachine.com or https://screenshot.guru).What makes a link Safe? ›
A secure URL should begin with “https” rather than “http.” The “s” in “https” stands for secure, which indicates that the site is using a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate. This lets you know that all your communication and data is encrypted as it passes from your browser to the website's server.How can I check if a link is a virus? ›
Which Link Checkers Do You Use?
- Norton Safe Web.
- Google Transparency Report.
- PSafe dfndr lab.
Disconnect your device from the Internet.
Disconnecting from the internet will help reduce the risk of malware spreading to other devices on the network. This will also prevent a malicious actor from accessing your device or sending out confidential information from it.
If you suspect your device has been compromised after clicking on a phishing link, the first thing you should do is disconnect your device from the internet and all other networks. This will prevent malware from spreading to synchronized devices.How do I identify a link? ›
Answer: On a computer you can identify a hyperlink even if it's not underlined by hovering your mouse pointer over the text. A browser changes the pointer from an arrow to a finger to indicate it can be opened.
What do suspicious links look like? ›
You can spot a suspicious link if the destination address doesn't match the context of the rest of the email. For example, if you receive an email from Netflix, you would expect the link to direct you towards an address that begins 'netflix.com'.
A quality link, or high-quality link, is one that sources from a high-quality website. Backlinks are one of the pillars of an effective SEO strategy. They are essential to driving organic traffic and increasing your site's authority. In addition, search engines consider them one of their top three ranking factors.Are all https sites safe? ›
HTTPS doesn't mean safe. Many people assume that an HTTPS connection means that the site is secure. In fact, HTTPS is increasingly being used by malicious sites, especially phishing ones. Let's be honest, when most people see a little green lock with the word “Secure” to the left of a URL, they think the site is safe.How do you secure a link? ›
- Install SSL. An SSL certificate is an essential for any site. ...
- Use anti-malware software. ...
- Make your passwords uncrackable. ...
- Keep your website up to date. ...
- Don't help the hackers. ...
- Manually accept comments. ...
- Run regular backups.
The safe links policy: Turn on Safe Links protection, turn on real-time URL scanning, specify whether to wait for real-time scanning to complete before delivering the message, turn on scanning for internal messages, specify whether to track user clicks on URLs, and specify whether to allow users to click trough to the ...Should I click on a suspicious link? ›
IT pros repeatedly tell end users never to click on suspicious links. And this is a warning that should always be heeded! Consider that: 90% of all data breaches are linked to phishing attacks.What is an unsafe link? ›
Unsafe domains are external links to websites that could contain phishing, malware, or unwanted software. Phishing: Imitation of another website, designed to trick users into sharing personal or financial information.Are safe links Safe? ›
Does Safe Links protect me from malicious sites when I'm browsing the web? No. Safe Links only scans email, SharePoint, and OneDrive to identify phishing links and links to web sites that are malicious.Is a Google link Safe? ›
A Google Drive link by itself cannot be dangerous. However, cybercriminals can add downloadable malware to Google Drive links. Therefore, a user would need to download and open the malware in order to compromise their computer and data. You should only open and download links from people you trust.How can you stay safe online? ›
- Top tips for staying secure online.
- Use a strong and separate password for your email.
- Install the latest software and app updates.
- Turn on 2-step verification (2SV)
- Password managers: using browsers and apps to safely store your passwords.
- Backing up your data.
- Three random words.
What are 5 things that make a website trustworthy? ›
- Make sure your website's design looks great. ...
- Avoid spam, from both you and advertisers. ...
- Include an About page to put a face to your site. ...
- Clearly display your contact information. ...
- Include a contact form so that you're easily reachable. ...
- Add a blog and keep it up to date.
There are six (6) criteria that should be applied when evaluating any Web site: authority, accuracy, objectivity, currency, coverage, and appearance.Will I get a virus if I click on a link? ›
Yes, you can get a virus just from visiting a website. These days, it's very easy to be overconfident in our abilities to avoid computer viruses. After all, many of us were told that we simply had to avoid files and programs we didn't recognize.What is a suspicious link? ›
Android. For some links you receive in a chat, you may see a suspicious link indicator. This indicator may appear when a link contains a combination of characters that is considered unusual.Can iPhone be hacked by clicking on a link? ›
Just like on your computer, your iPhone can be hacked by clicking on a suspicious website or link. If a website looks or feels "off" check the logos, the spelling, or the URL.What if I clicked on a phishing link but did not enter details? ›
If you clicked on a phishing link that took you to a spoofed page and did not enter any personal information or credentials, then you should be fine. However, one danger is that scammers usually know whether or not you clicked on the link. So, they may determine you're a good target to continue pursuing.How can I tell if a link is safe on Android? ›
Use a website safety checker
To find out if a link is safe, just copy/paste the URL into the search box and hit Enter. Google Safe Browsing's URL checker will test the link and report back on the site's legitimacy and reputation in just seconds. It's that easy to use Google's URL scanner.
Can iPhones get viruses? Though rare, iPhones can get viruses and other malware, especially if the phone is jailbroken or if the victim is targeted in a high-value spear phishing attack. For normal iPhone users, a malware infection is an unlikely event.Can someone hacked my phone if I click on a link? ›
One of the more common tactics used to compromise a victim's device is using phishing and malspam emails that contain malicious links or attachments. Once the victim clicks on it the attachment or the link (which then downloads malware to their device), that malware allows hackers to carry out their nefarious deeds.What is an example of a link? ›
Alternatively referred to as a link and web link, a hyperlink is an icon, graphic, or text that links to another file or object. The World Wide Web is comprised of hyperlinks linking trillions of pages and files to one another. For example, "Computer Hope home page" is a hyperlink to the Computer Hope home page.
What are 3 types of hyperlinks? ›
Text hyperlink – Uses a word or phrase to take visitors to another page, file or document. Image hyperlink – Uses an image to take visitors to another page, file or document. Bookmark hyperlink – Uses text or an image to take visitors to another part of a web page.What are some scamming websites? ›
Spammy links—also known as low quality backlinks—are ones which are pointed to your domain from spam or poor authority sites. They can be easily identified by a sharp spike in traffic to your domain, often from countries outside of those which form your core audience.Why are links blue or purple? ›
An unvisited is underlined and blue, a visited link is underlined and purple and an active link is underlined and red.Why are all links blue? ›
Mosaic came out during an important time where support for color monitors was shifting; the standard was for hyperlinks to use black text with some sort of underline, hover state or border. Mosaic chose to use blue, and they chose to port their browser for multiple operating systems.How do you know if a link is phishing? ›
There are two parts to a link: The words describing the link (the part you see) and the URL. If you're on a computer, hover over the link and find out its real destination. If it doesn't match the link displayed, assume it's unsafe and don't click it. This is an easy, effective way of spotting phishing threats.What are suspicious sites? ›
Suspicious site: The site you want to visit seems suspicious and may not be safe. The site ahead contains harmful programs: The site you start to visit might try to trick you into installing programs that cause problems when you're browsing online.What is a suspicious website? ›
A malicious website is any website that's been designed to cause harm. In this article, we'll focus on phishing websites and malware websites. A phishing website – sometimes called a “spoof” or “lookalike” website – steals your data. Phishing websites look like legitimate websites.Can iPhones get hacked? ›
An iPhone can be hacked remotely through iOS vulnerabilities. However, it's more likely that it'll be hacked through malicious software or physical access, as programming-based hacking is the most difficult to carry out.Can an iPhone get a virus? ›
Can iPhones get viruses? Though rare, iPhones can get viruses and other malware, especially if the phone is jailbroken or if the victim is targeted in a high-value spear phishing attack. For normal iPhone users, a malware infection is an unlikely event.
How can I tell if I have a virus? ›
Poor performance – Like a computer, a slowdown in performance is a sure sign of infection. New applications – If new apps appear unexpectedly on your device, a malicious app could be downloading them onto your device. They may contain malware too.What are the six signs of phishing? ›
- An Unfamiliar Tone or Greeting. ...
- Grammar and Spelling Errors. ...
- Inconsistencies in Email Addresses, Links & Domain Names. ...
- Threats or a Sense of Urgency. ...
- Suspicious Attachments.
- Asks for Sensitive Information.
- Uses a Different Domain.
- Contains Links that Don't Match the Domain.
- Includes Unsolicited Attachments.
- Is Not Personalized.
- Uses Poor Spelling and Grammar.
- Tries to Panic the Recipient.
- SEToolkit Phishing tool.
- King-Phisher Phishing tool.
- Social fish Phishing simulation tool.
- Blackeye Phishing simulation yool.
- Shellphish phishing simulation tool.