From May’s Law Practice Management Newsletter—How to Tell if a Link is Safe Without Clicking on It

by Alexa Drago on May 29, 2015

By Reba Nance—CBA LPM Director

rebaIt’s becoming more difficult to tell if a link is legitimate. Here are a few things you can do to make it less likely that you will infect your computer by clicking on an unsafe link.

  • Keep your antimalware/antivirus software up-to-date. Make sure your software is set to auto update on a regular basis and check the date of the last update regularly to be sure updates are actually happening
  • Consider getting a second opinion malware scanner. This provides a second line of defense.
  • Beware of links in emails where the text is misspelled or there’s improper grammar. This is a big tip-off.
  • Enable the “real-time” or “active” scanning option in your antimalware software. It’s better to catch malware while it’s trying to enter your system rather than after you’ve been infected.
  • Scan the link with a link scanner. Check out Norton SafeWeb, URL Void, ScanUrl. URL Void is particularly helpful because it scans links using multiple services.
  • Expand shortened links. Use a service such as Untiny that will show a shortened link’s destination by right-clicking it. Also check out Sucuri. Sucuri automatically expands the link and uses other services such as Google, Norton SafeWeb and Phish Tank to determine if the link is safe.
  • Hover over the link. You can hover your mouse over the link and see the destination by looking at the bottom of your screen. Just because the link says it is going to cheapairfare.com doesn’t mean that’s where the link will take you.
  • Don’t click on a link with strange characters in it. Hackers often conceal the destination site using URL encoding. Beware if you see a bunch of “%” symbols in the URL.
  • Don’t click on links in an unsolicited email. Even if the link looks like it came from your bank, go directly to your bank’s website or contact them.
  • Copy a link safely. Services such as URL Void and Sucuri require you to type in or paste the suspicious link. The safe way to do that is to right-click the link and then click Copy Shortcut (IE), Copy Link Location (Firefox), or Copy Link address (Chrome).

Feel free to contact me with questions at reban@cobar.org.

This month’s newsletter contains a product review of the Apple Watch, hidden costs of attorneys handling their own IT needs, tips on how to transition your team to remote work, as well as other useful technology reviews, marketing, and time management tips. Click here to read the full newsletter.


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