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3 Ways to Spot a Malicious Website

3 Ways to Spot a Malicious Website

You hear about malicious websites leading to big problems. You may have even visited one, and you knew (immediately or eventually) that something was wrong. Hopefully, by then, you closed the tab or browser before things got bad.

So, how can you tell if a website is malicious?

Well, the bad guys are certainly making it challenging. Whether it’s an email, file, or website, malicious content is becoming more and more genuine-looking.

Here are three things to keep in mind when trying to determine if a website is malicious:

1. Odd URL

Is there something fishy about that web address? Are there slight variations (or even outright misspellings) of popular websites and brands? Is the URL very long, with weird words that have no relation to the website’s subject? If so, play it safe and back off.


If a website is asking for sensitive information AND you don’t see HTTPS, then something is probably wrong. Most sites now use encryption, so seeing HTTPS in the address bar doesn’t necessarily mean a website is safe, because the bad guys are actually using it for malicious sites.

3. Annoying downloads and alerts

If you visit a site and are suddenly bombarded with prompts to download things, something is not right. These can be links to download bogus updates to your system, or a fake warning that you have a virus on your computer. You could even have a message saying you’ve won a fabulous prize. Don’t click on anything.

The Golden Rule of staying safe online is “Think Before You Click.” It’s an easy thing to do. And if you combine that healthy habit with the above tips, you’re bound to be safer when traveling along the (mostly) wonderful World Wide Web.

Doing online shopping? Check out these three simple-to-follow steps to start safe while shopping online.