With all of the recent hullabaloo about Facebook, privacy and data safety are the number one things on people’s minds. Symantec, makers of the popular Norton Anti-Virus software for PCs have attempted to alleviate users’ worries by creating Norton Safe Web, an application that scans your current news feeds to see if they contain links that are unsafe for you or your friends to click on. It’s a free and easy way to ensure that a little curious clicking won’t get you and your friends list into trouble.
According to Norton, the news feed scan will then “identify URLs containing security risks such as phishing sites, malicious downloads, browser exploits and links to unsafe external sites.” The scan only covers links posted within the last 24 hours to ensure a rapid response, so concerned users should run a scan at least once a day. The scan will also look up the full URL for each shortened URL (such as bit.ly and tinyURL) and check its site rating.
After conducting a scan, the results show how many links were scanned, and the application assigns a green check mark for safe links, a red X for links that are warned to be unsafe, and a grey question mark for untested links. On a test scan we conducted, the kinds of links that went untested linked to blogs and ticket purchasing sites.
Most people need to click on a bad link to find out the hard way that it shouldn’t have ever been shared, and only after the damage is done do they realize their mistake. In fact, a survey by Norton showed that nearly 44% of users have fallen victim to cybercrimes conducted via a social networking site. With Norton Safe Web, you’ll have the security of knowing before you click. You can also use the Norton Safe Web website to look up individual URLs in addition to the Facebook news feed scan.
How safe are the links your friends are sharing?