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Don't click any email link or web link before asking these questions

Don't click any email link or web link before asking these questions

Clicking or tapping a link in an email, text or just on a website is always a bit of a gamble. On the other end of a link could be the information you want to see, or it could be a malicious website, virus-filled download or inappropriate content. Sometimes the only way to know for sure is to click. However, there are some important questions you can ask first that will give you a good idea if the link is safe or not.

1. Where did the link come from?

Perhaps the most important question you can ask is how you got the link in the first place. Was it in an unsolicited email or text message? Did you get it in a Google search? Was it in a friend's Facebook post?

As a rule, if a link is unsolicited, you don't want to click on it. Hackers send out malicious links in emails and texts daily. They're especially good at putting links in emails that look like they're from legitimate companies. If the link is from someone you know, check with them first to make sure they really sent it, and that their account wasn't hacked.

Links you find for yourself are going to be safer, but you still need to be cautious. A Google search is a good example. Hackers use a tactic called "search engine poisoning" to get malicious links to the top of a Google search for popular words and topics (more on that later). Learn how to get your legitimate links to the top of a Google search.

The same goes for Facebook. In general, the links your friends post are going to be OK, but one of them might have been tricked into sharing a malicious link, or they installed an app that does it for them. Maybe they got tricked by a like-farming scam. Keep reading and I'm going to look at some other questions that will help reveal those dangers.

Next page: Why click the link?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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