Sunday, August 2, 2015

Recognizing suspicious websites

You would certainly be cautious when opening your door to let someone into your house. You should be just as careful when opening your computer to someone you don't know. A single mouse click can let a total stranger take control of your computer and all the information in it. We often hear you should only click on links sent to you by people you know. The bizarre assumption here is that you don't know how to spot bad web sites but all of your friends do - so apparently ALL of your friends are smarter than you. I doubt that.

The important thing to remember is that a web site is identified by two different character strings. The first one is the one you see displayed as a "link". It might be something like "click here" or It could also be a picture. The words are usually underlined and often a different color. The second string is the real "website address". It is always a string of characters such as and it is always hidden from view. This is the one that matters. The one you can see may have no real meaning at all and if someone were trying to get you to go to the Toyota web site, they could show but connect it to the address

More likely scammers would link to a fraudulent web site. That's how it works - what you see is not what you get. If you are not certain a website link is legitimate you need to view the actual (hidden) website address. How you do this varies from device to device but you can usually right click or copy the displayed link and paste it into the address/search field of your browser. The supposed link might look more like " - a company you've never heard of with a website registered in China (ch). Be very suspicious when there are two unrecognized letters following the first period. These are country codes - MX Mexico, RU Russia, etc.

NEXT MONTH I'll explain the two versions of Ransomeware - and what you can do about them

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