Malicious websites cannot always be identified at first glance. If you want to protect yourself, you can use free tools to check questionable links. We will show you which security mechanisms your browser already offers and which additional options you have.
The Internet is no longer the global Wild West as it was 20 years ago, but there are still numerous dangers lurking on the Internet. Fraudsters have now developed sophisticated methods to lure inexperienced users into the trap – in addition to dangerous links, there are also completely fake websites.
But how do you recognize this? Here are some practical methods you can use to check malicious websites before the potentially dangerous mouse click.
Detecting unsafe websites: browser-specific tools
Fortunately, browsers like Firefox or Chrome now a lot safer. Both show a small padlock symbol in the address bar, for example, when a visited page is secure. If this is not the case, Chrome instead shows a red warning symbol, Firefox in turn shows a large warning window with a yellow frame after clicking. Pay attention to these signals so as not to fall for fake websites.
In Firefox you also have the option of activating the “HTTPS only mode” via “Settings | Privacy & Security”, if you wish, only for private windows. The browser only allows encrypted connections. Also Edge offers such an attitude.
Only Chrome is still a long time coming, here you need it Canary-Version and must chrome://flags/#https-only-mode-setting Enter in the address line. Select “Enabled” and restart the browser. Under chrome://settings/security The HTTPS-only function can then be activated in the “Advanced” area.
VirusTotal: Also scans websites
At CHIP, we also use the popular VirusTotal page on a daily basis to track downloads with numerous Antivirus-Engines to check for their safety. All you have to do is drag and drop the installers onto the website and you will receive the result after a short scan.
But did you also know that the service can analyze web pages in the same way for free? Simply click on “URL” on the main page and enter a link. You can choose a main domain like “chip.de”, but it is better if you insert a specific link.
To do this, right-click a link while surfing and select “Copy link address”. After that, this can easily be done with CTRL + V VirusTotal insert. After a short time you will see the scan result including a community score. This can be useful, but some angry users also use this function to vent their frustration, for example if they had a negative shopping experience. So please enjoy the ratings and comments with caution.
Security check via Google
Google also offers a similar service to VirusTotal, regardless of the browser. The company checks billions of links for their security every day and, according to its own statements, discovers thousands of new, unsafe websites. Serious websites are also often manipulated.
There is also the function in the Google Transparency Report Safe Browsing – Check website statuswhere you can conveniently check for yourself whether a website is safe or not. Search for a URL or enter a link.
Disadvantage: The tool cannot determine a clear security status for pages on the Internet that offer a large amount of content. Again, it is better to have a specific URL examined rather than the main domain of a website.