Recently I was playing around on my computer and received a weird email. It had a web address link in it and it was from my brother. Even if it is my own family it is always good not to click links in email before verifying it is good as well as to confirm that it really came from that person. The scammers out there can be very tricky so it is always good to be cautious rather than sorry. Since I was not sure if the link was good, I decided to check it in a URL scanning tool. This tool was recommended to me by a friend and I wanted to give it a try. The website I will be showing you is called VirusTotal.com and here is what Wikipedia says it is all about.
VirusTotal is a website created by the Spanish security company Hispasec Sistemas. Launched in June 2004, it was acquired by Google Inc. in September 2012. The company’s ownership switched in January 2018 to Chronicle, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc..
VirusTotal aggregates many antivirus products and online scan engines to check for viruses that the user’s own antivirus may have missed, or to verify against any false positives. Files up to 650 MB can be uploaded to the website, or sent via email (max. 32MB). Anti-virus software vendors can receive copies of files that were flagged by other scans but passed by their own engine, to help improve their software and, by extension, VirusTotal’s own capability. Users can also scan suspect URLs and search through the VirusTotal dataset. VirusTotal for dynamic analysis of malware uses the Cuckoo sandbox. VirusTotal was selected by PC World as one of the best 100 products of 2007.
It has been around a while and still does a good job of scanning URLs along with some other things. Let us get started with this lesson on how to use this site.
How To Safely Check A Web Address
This website will, “Analyze suspicious files and URLs to detect types of malware, automatically share them with the security community”.
Step 1: Head over to the website, Virustotal.com, and once on the main screen look to the middle for the URL option. Click it.
Step 2: Now you should see a spot to type or paste the website URL in. Make sure to include the HTTPS:// with your URL. After you have entered the information either hit enter on your keyboard or click on the magnifying glass.
Step 3: This will run the scan and then take you to the results screen. Here it will show you what it checked it for and the outcome. I used https://davescomputertips.com for this example. As you can see, we look good. You can also see next to the Detection tab is Details and Community. Click on Details for more info on the URL and Community to see if there are any comments about it.
Go ahead and check this website out yourself. If you know of any other places that do the same, let us know in the comments.
Bonus: If you are wanting to check a Bitly link go to my article on that here– How To Safely Check Bitly Links
2 thoughts on “How To Safely Check A Web Address”
Jason, there are also addons that can help users. Check out https://support.virustotal.com/hc/en-us/articles/115002700745-Browser-Extensions#google-chrome for more information, Mindblower!
Other ways to check a URL:
https://urlscan.io Claims to be “A sandbox for the web” also shows a small picture of the site.
https://screenshot.guru/ “Take beautiful, high-resolution screen captures of websites and tweets” so you can see big pictures of a site, before you go to it for real.
https://redirectdetective.com/ “Redirect Detective is a free URL redirection checker that allows you to see the complete path a redirected URL goes through.”
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