Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hi, My Name Is Earl... I mean, URL

Today's Tech Gospel is on URL security. URL, or Uniform Resource Locator (aka website address) is what you usually type in your browser to visit a website.  Now, recently there have been a whole crop of new viruses on Facebook.  Most ask you to click on them to see some 'scandal video'.  These do not infect your computer.  They infect your Facebook account and can gather your personal information.

When you see a link on Facebook, or any website for that matter, place your mouse over the link.  On the bottom part of your browser, there is usually a status bar that will show you the URL of the link.  Sometimes, you can tell right away if this is a scam link or a legit one.

An article that says "Youtube video of ______ scandal.  Click here" ... if it is a legit link, the status bar at the bottom of your browser SHOULD start with "".  Try not to click on links that have addresses from unknown sites, or sites that don't look official.

Fake URLs (aka phishing sites) can pose as bank login pages, email login pages, shopping sites, credit card forms, etc... anything that will allow a site to collect information from you.  These LOOK like the real websites of banks, social networking sites, email login sites...but are hosted on another site.  Be aware of the address on the top and bottom of your browser.  Make sure it has the address of the site you think you're visiting or viewing before entering any sensitive information, or even clicking on links.

Although not 100% secure, it's always a good idea to Google a questionable link first to see if there are any reports of a new virus or hack that's been going around.

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