How to Check if a Link Is Safe Before Visiting
If you’re active on social media, you might be worried about unintentionally clicking on a harmful link. Security threats like ransomware, malware, and phishing websites present a huge risk to internet users nowadays. Clicking a harmful link can happen to anyone and anytime, and the consequences can vary and cause more harm than expected.
Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself from the growing dangers of harmful links. In this article, we’ll show the different ways to check if a link is safe.
How to Check if a Link Is Safe Before Clicking on an iPhone
There are a couple of different ways you can check a link from your iPhone. The easiest would be to use one of the numerous web services like Norton SafeWeb, URLVoid, or ScanURL. To check a link from your iPhone, follow these steps:
- Click on one of these links above, then save them to your phone’s home screen to make them immediately accessible.
- To add Norton SafeWeb or the other two services to your home screen, go to the Norton SafeWeb page and select Add to Home Screen.
- Tap and hold the link you’ve received.
- When a menu appears, click on it.
- Check the domain to see if the true URL for that link is valid or not.
- Select “Copy” if you want to be extra careful.
- Use the short services URL you made before to get started.
- Paste the URL you have received and verify that it is a secure link.
These steps are helpful when you don’t have a computer to check the safety of a link. After implementing the steps for some time, these precautions will turn into a habit.
How to Check if a Link Is Safe Before Clicking on an Android Device
The steps to check if a link is safe on Android are similar to those outlined above. Here’s what you need to do:
- Go to one of the web services like Norton SafeWeb.
- While on the website, click on the three dots in the top-right corner.
- Tap “Add to Home screen” to make it easier to access.
- Tap and hold the link you’ve received.
- When a menu opens, tap on it.
- Check the domain to check if the link’s true URL is still valid.
- If you want to be extra cautious, choose “Copy.”
- Open the short services URL you created before on your Home screen.
- Paste the URL you were sent and double-check that it is a secure link.
Also, a lot of these web services also have Android apps which you can download from the Google Play Store. This makes it even easier to check links from your Android device.
How to Check if a Link Is Safe Before Clicking on a PC
There are several ways you can check a link without clicking on it while using a PC.
Verify Unsolicited Email Links
Sending an email that appears to originate from your bank is a popular phishing technique. Victims are generally instructed to verify their information by following a link, presumably to the bank’s website.
Don’t click the link to your bank, even if it appears to be real. Use your web browser to go to your bank’s website, either by typing in the address or using a bookmark. This advice also applies to unwanted texts from your “bank.”
Use a Link Scanner
There are different link scanners on the Internet. One of them is Norton SafeWeb, which we mentioned before.
Simply put the URL into the checking box and hit the search button to scan it for malware. The website will then be given a rating and community reviews by Norton Safe Web. You may make an account and join the community of link checkers if you wish to give your own opinion.
It also has a link checker that works in the browser. The Norton Safe Search Extension for Chrome offers instant safe search capability for your browser’s address bar. Alternatively, you can opt for safe search that is now available in all of your search engine results thanks to the Norton Home Page Extension. Both choices will check links for safety before clicking them, making them perfect for exploring the web safely.
Some other similar web services are URLVoid, ScanURL, PhishTank or Google Transparency Report. You also have to just copy-paste the suspicious link into the box.
Check Short Links
Link shortening is used by phishers and malware distributors to hide the real direction of their links. To discover the intended destination of a short link, use a link-expansion service like ChecShortURL. Some link-expander services will even notify you whether a link is on a list of “bad sites.”
If you see that a link consists of a lot of random characters that don’t make a lot of sense, it might be a dangerous link. Malware distributors use encoding to hide addresses, commands, and other evil stuff in links so you can’t see them. To figure out the precise URL destination, use a URL decoding tool like URL Decoder.
Use an Antivirus Software
Use any active or real-time scanning tools that your anti-malware software offers. These alternatives may demand more system resources, but catching malware as it attempts to infiltrate your system is preferable than catching it after your system has already been infected.
Your anti-malware or antivirus software won’t be able to detect the latest dangers if it doesn’t have access to the current malware. Make sure your Antivirus software is up-to-date or turn on automatic updates.
How to Check if a Link Is Safe on Discord
Discord is a platform where you are able to send and receive direct messages, group messages, or even server messages. There is always the possibility that you can receive an unsafe link in one of these messages.
To scan links in any text conversation, use the Google Safe Browsing API. It is a public API that can warn a user if a website is harmful before they ever click on a link.
You can also use the scanning option Discord already offers. To do so, go to “Settings” then “Privacy and Safety” and select one of the options. You can arrange for Discord to scan every direct message you get, to not scan messages from your friends, or to not scan any messages at all.
The risks of getting scammed by hazardous links are high. Use link scanners, be aware of potentially hazardous links, and keep your antivirus up-to-date to prevent anybody from obtaining your personal information or infecting your device with malware. Checking links before clicking on them should become a habit for any Internet user nowadays.
Have you ever received a suspicious link? Have you ever had any issues that occurred after clicking a link? Have you ever used a link scanned and which one? Let us know in the comments section below.
Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.