I want to point out that starting point for safety online depends on the user and not on anti-virus software no matter how popular or expensive it may be. There are some common mistakes all users make while browsing. Luckily for us, criminals online use techniques that are similar to all of them. A short review will give you a basic idea how to recognize malicious websites.
1. The website hijacks web browser.
If you can’t visit any other website except for one, you shouldn’t trust it. If a website constantly appears instead of your regular homepage or instead of search results, it’s most likely a part of some fraud.
2. It insists on purchasing or downloading suspicious programs.
Online advertising is a usual thing; however, if all you see at a website is ‘Buy now’ banners and pop-ups, it should raise suspicion. Fraudulent sources rarely have some other content posted except for the ‘Buy’ page, the ‘Download’ page and the ‘Download and buy now! This program is the best!’ page. If a website initiates download dialog automatically and it doesn’t let you escape the download, it shouldn’t be trusted.
3. It loads Bunch of pup-ups.
Never trust a website which opens loads of pop-up windows with every click of a link in that site. The pop-up ads may even advertise things you were not searching for in the first place. But be careful even if there are no pop-ups. Some browsers have automatic pop-up blockers and this way you may not notice that you entered a malicious site.
4. It installs software or toolbars without your permission.
Reputable websites don’t install software without visitor’s consent. If any new software, toolbar, desktop icons or similar things appear after visiting certain internet source, the website is either malicious or it is fraudulent.
5. Website finds errors in your system.
Some websites pretend to scan your computer and in a few seconds they load a pop-up telling they have found a number of errors on your computer. Do not believe because it is impossible for a website to scan your system. Get out of sites like this as quickly as possible.
6. No company details.
While reputable companies publish contact information and details about both a company and its projects, you won’t find these things on most of the fraudulent websites. Scammers don’t provide phone numbers and physical or email addresses; and even a name of a company isn’t usually mentioned.
7. It pretends to investigate visitor’s computer.
A random website doesn’t have an access to visitor’s computer and it can neither investigate a computer nor fix some problems. If a website displays system scan, it’s trying to lure people into a trap. There is no way for a website to scan visitor’s machine in 20 seconds and find computer infections.
8. It is related to money transfers but it is not secured.
Web browsers usually display yellow address bar instead of a regular one when you’re visiting secured website. It should also have a closed padlock icon next to the address of the website.