LinkScanner Lite exposes malware "surprises" in real time

LinkScanner Lite, a Web site rating browser add-on, just saved one editor's day. Here's why it rocks.

LinkScanner Lite warns against a hidden IFrame launcher in Megaupload. (Credit: CNET Networks)

Those of you who haven't yet installed a link scanning or Web site rating program for your Firefox or IE-based browser should hop to it--and consider using LinkScanner Lite when you do.

I've been using LinkScanner Lite and McAfee Site Adviser on both Firefox and IE browsers. Overkill? No way. Each program serves the greater goal of alerting you to dangerous links but differ in their approaches.

As publisher Exploit Prevention Labs explains it, LinkScanner Lite and LinkScanner Pro scan individual pages in real time, knowing that malicious hackers can hop from site to site, temporarily infecting them, even if a site may be safe 99 percent of the time.

LinkScanner Lite has repeatedly flagged unsafe sites that Site Adviser has cleared, like Megaupload, which I just searched today to follow up on a user's tip. This isn't to discredit McAfee Site Adviser, which provides valuable information about dangerous links, downloads, and spam e-mails within a given site. I see the freeware versions of these programs as complementary rather than exclusive.

LinkScanner Pro (about $30) does even more than the free "lite" version to extend your firewall's capabilities for blocking drive-by downloads and scanning IM links for distributed malware.

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About Jessica Dolcourt

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.