What is a Link Scanner and Do You Need One?TECH
What is a Link Scanner and Do You Need One?
If you’re looking into security for your computer, then a Link Scanner is one of the Internet Security tools that will frequently come up. While most of know what an antivirus program is, it can be difficult to decide if you need all of the extra options like link scanners. To make the right decision, you should first learn about link scanners, and check your existing antivirus program. In this article, we will cover the basics, and help you with picking a link scanner if you need one.
Let’s get started.
What is a LinkScanner?
A LinkScanner is literally a program that works with your browser to scan links on searches, social media websites, and on websites. The scanner will then tell you whether or not the link is safe to click. Most link scanners combine anti phishing (to prevent you from clicking on links that will steal your data) with computer security (to prevent you from clicking on websites that might download a virus onto your computer) which can help you to protect your data and your computer. At their most basic, link scanners will tell you when a website is likely to be compromised, so that you can either visit it, or proceed with caution.
Do You Need a Link Scanner?
You’re probably thinking something along the lines of “Hell Yeah, Link scanners!” right about now. However, your antivirus program might already have one included. If you’re using a free antivirus, you could download one separately, but many paid antivirus programs include them for free. Usually, if your antivirus includes any sort of internet scanning, Internet security, or similar, you will already have a link scanner. This means that the paid versions of popular antivirus like Norton, McAfee, and many more already automatically scan links.
The Top Four Link Scanners
If you don’t already have a link scanner on your computer, there are a number of free options that you can choose to download, install, and use.
AVG Antivirus Free – AVG Antivirus Free includes a very good free link scanner that you can use, alongside a high quality malware detection and removal tool, plus a firewall.
McAfee SiteAdvisor – McAfee has one of the most disruptive antivirus programs out there, but their Site Advisor is actually a decent link scanner. The program works to create an in-browser review of each site that you can click on, with green, yellow, or red ratings next to each link. This is extremely useful, doesn’t slow your browser down, and allows you to check up on links before you click them.
Web of Trust – Web of Trust is a browser add-on that you can install into Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla, and some other browsers. The application scans links and websites, and then tells you if the link is safe or not.
Bitdefender TrafficLight – Bitdefender’s TrafficLight is a link scanner that scans links on social media sites, in searches, and works to detect potentially infected websites. Like the other link scanners on this list, it is completely free.
Which should you choose? If you’re not sure, we recommend that you start out with Web of Trust. If you don’t like that, move on to Bitdefender.
Checking Shortened Links
Websites like URL Void and Norton SafeWeb can be used to scan individual links. However, this is extremely time consuming and not suitable for replacing a link scanner.
A Link Scanner can help you to protect your computer and your data by letting you know when a website is infected or potentially hazardous. If you have a free antivirus program, or don’t currently see information about links before you click on them, then you likely still need a link scanner. Most importantly, there are plenty of great free options so you can choose the one you want.