How to know if a site is dangerous

These days, even with the many advances in cybersecurity, it can be very difficult to realize whether a site is reliable or not .
Those who create sites to organize scams and to spread viruses or malware no longer make jobs of poor quality easily recognizable, but create very professional sites and "traps", with an appearance similar to that of the most famous sites, which can lead the user to trust in distraction or in haste.
When we insert sensitive data (credit card data to buy something or personal access data to a service), it is very important to know how to recognize dangerous sites immediately and to know who we are sending private information to.
The same is true for those sites that, in order to search for a movie or software to download, a registration is required with a lot of payment data to be inserted, despite the program being presented as free or worse we are asked to download a plugin or a program special to view the video on a particular page.
Let's find out the tips to follow to know if a site is dangerous or not, so as to avoid most of the traps placed on the Web to make us click where we don't want and to have us install junk or viruses.
READ ALSO: Stay away from the Italian websites of hoaxes and fake news
1) Be wary of those who ask for too much data or things to insert
In general, we must always be wary of a website that is not well known or that we use for the first time if it asks for personal information or credit card numbers.
You should also be careful of sites with offers that seem too good to be true, be very careful when it comes to sites with very intrusive ads, which open pop-ups continuously and which require you to install a plugin to view content and videos.
As we saw in another guide, never download players and updates from streaming video sites that are always viruses .
2) Use a secure web browser
Fortunately, there is no shortage of allies in this fight against dangerous sites: it is Google itself that blocks navigation on dangerous sites when we use Google Chrome (see also Chrome blocks sites with dangerous downloads ), sometimes also blocking sites that are legitimate but present dangerous downloads or pop-ups.
If we have not yet downloaded Google Chrome on our PC or Mac, we can provide it using the link present here -> Download Google Chrome.
3) Check the encryption offered by the web page
Before entering private information, before buying online or writing sensitive data, it is necessary to verify that the site has an encrypted connection, i.e. that the data sent is not readable in clear text by anyone during the journey on the Internet.
To do this check just check that the site starts with HTTPS and not with HTTP directly from the address bar at the top (on some sites there should also be a green indication with the writing of the secure certificate assigned to that protected site).

We also make sure that no SSL certificate errors are reported, which could indicate both a temporary problem of the legitimate site (it happens when a certificate expires) and one site that pretends to be another using "fictitious" encryption.
For safety, we always recommend installing the HTTPS Everywehere extension, which forces all HTTPS connections and prevents you from visiting deceptive phishing sites.
As a general rule therefore never enter payment or personal data on a site that starts with a simple HTTP.
4) How to know if a site is good or dangerous before you even visit it
In the event that you receive a link to a new site to visit via email or Facebook message, perhaps indecipherable because it is provided with a shortened or hidden link, it is better not to click it because only opening it could load some viruses.
In these cases it is better to check before opening it; from any browser we right-click on the suspicious link and choose the Copy link address or Copy address option (depending on the browser in use).
We can insert the link in the clipboard on some control sites such as Zulu URL Risk Analyzer.

These two free online services are also able to process shortened links or bogus links that redirect to phishing pages (for example a bogus Paypal link).
Zulu URL Risk Analyzer tells us everything that is loaded from that web page to which the suspicious link refers and assigns a risk score.
The Comodo scanner also works well and leads to a complete report on the degree of danger of a website.
If a site is classified as at risk, it is most likely a dangerous site, so we can very well trash the email or report it as spam, so as to prevent someone else from falling for it.
5) Use antivirus scan sites
From the previous point we have also discovered what is hidden behind a link and we can also know what was behind a shortened link.
For further scruple we can also insert the shortened or suspicious link in an antivirus scan site like VirusTotal.

In the case of a site already previously evaluated, if the date is not recent, we carry out a new analysis to find out what lurks in the source code of the page.
The evaluation here is never unambiguous, it may be that a good site is reported dangerous by different detection engines or that vice versa is dangerous even if only a few detect it.
For this it is also worth a second check on a similar service, called URLVoid.

In this case we are also told where this website comes from, the level of traffic (if it were very popular, it may have intrusive banners but if you are careful it's okay).
Obviously we will have to combine all the data obtained from the scanning sites in order to make a final evaluation: it can also happen that some hacker takes control of legitimate sites (which are clean in the various sites) and that decides to load some virus or some phishing page, without anyone noticing.
It is therefore better to always be alert and check if there are small differences in the sites we use every day: sometimes it takes little to notice the difference (a typo, a new image that was not present, written in other languages etc.).
6) Check a site's reputation
As already written in an article similar to this, to avoid clicking dangerous links and suspicious sites we can use extensions that immediately show the reputation of a site based on the votes of other users, showing a specific icon as far as the Google search or next to the links attached in an email or chat.
The best reputation sites extensions that we can install on Google Chrome are:
- Avast Online Security
- Avira Browser Safety
- WOT: Web of Trust
If we use Mozilla Firefox we can install the exact same extensions using the links below:
- Avast Online Security
- Avira Browser Safety
- WOT: Web of Trust
By installing one of these extensions we will have the possibility to obtain an evaluation on the sites present on Google searches and on all the links inserted on Facebook, in emails, on other social networks or in chat, so as to avoid dangerous links well (they will be reported as links red or, in case of accidental opening of a malicious link, with preventive block pages to avoid infection).
7) How to report dangerous sites?
If during our navigation we find a site is dangerous (spam, phishing, scams or deception of various types), we can report it so that it can be closed, obscured or made inaccessible by other people .
To make this type of signaling we can follow two ways:
- The first by reporting the website to the Italian police, exactly to the online police station, to the collaborate section.
- The second is to report the site to Google, so that it blocks navigation for users who search for it through the search engine.
In addition to these two methods, we can also place a negative opinion on Web Of Trust or other reputation extensions, so as to help everyone else who will visit the page with one of the protections indicated in the article.
READ ALSO: Reputation control of sites to buy online without risk

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