Thursday, January 15, 2009

How to browse suspicious URLs? -FIXED

Is there a way to check a suspicious website while making sure you don't get infected with a virus?

Like if someone on MSN sends you a link, but you're not sure if it's legit or if that person's computer is infected and sending malicious links to everyone. Perhaps some sort of text browser? My web browser is Opera, so I'm safe from any Active X attacks, but not 100% from other crap.

Also, sorry if my updates aren't more substantial, I'm working on my Wulfia Focka update. I'll draw some new Miss Dynamite pages next week.

FIXED: Opera already has an option to disable plug-ins and java.


Blogger Daniel said...

Well, instead of actually browsing the webpage. I'd simply recommend searching for the page on Web of Trust or McAfee Site Advisor. Of course, these tools are hardly perfect because they rely partially on user ratings of websites. It'd be nice if Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo, or Google actually implemented a URL verification feature for their messengers. I suppose a text-based browser might do the trick since it doesn't actually render the pages, but I don't know much about them (w3m and lynx are about the only ones I know of).

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Firefox, with the NoScript add-on, to prevent anything being run or installed without you first allowing it.
Also, I would Google the link first to find out what it is, rather then just clicking it and hoping it's real.

9:00 PM  
Blogger Sirkowski said...

The Firefox add-on seems like a good idea.

9:34 PM  
Blogger Daniel said...

Well, keep in mind, NoScript is used to block Javascript (and works on a blacklist) which prevents most pages from rendering properly (you can whitelist and temporarily whitelist pages you trust). Of course, none of this really matters if you'll only be using Firefox to check suspicious pages. If you're really paranoid, Flashblock is another add-on you might want to install (it works on the same principle as NoScript only with Flash instead of Javascript).

10:41 PM  
Blogger Sirkowski said...

Yeah, I rarely use Firefox, so it suits me.

11:53 PM  
Blogger Kai v3.0 said...

You could always use a proxy.

11:54 PM  
Blogger Daniel said...

Can a proxy prevent browser-based attacks?

I thought that was just for masking your IP...

12:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They can't. Proxies merely take your IP address and switch it for their own. Certainly useful for preventing attacks that require the attacker to track down your computer on the Internet, but not useful in this case. The attacks involved here require you to download malicious cookies, JavaScript code, etc. Once downloaded, they run entirely on your computer, no IP Address tracking required.

I usually just Google a site if I have concerns about it, although checking a site like SiteAdvisor is a good idea, too. Using the browser addons might work too, but I would be concerned that they might not block or detect everything

1:17 AM  
Blogger Daniel said...

Didn't think so, I used one for awhile and was pretty sure I had their functions pretty well figured out. I also learned their not really worth anything without some proper user education.

Web of Trust also has an add-on. Neither it nor SiteAdvisor block anything, but they each have indicators for the safety of a given website (i.e. green=good, yellow=iffy, red=malicious, and gray=unrated). They each use these little indicator widgets on your browser (they don't really clutter the GUI at all, WOT's is smaller than SA's) so you can monitor the rating of the website your visiting (I find it much better to just Google search it and wait for the little rating icons to appear next to each link). It's also a good idea to check why a page is rated the way it is, especially yellow since it has the most false positives. FYI, since they both do practically the same thing, you should only install one of them (they only use different sources). I also haven't used either of these since upgrading to Firefox 3, since it has a built-in site checker which seems to work pretty well.

btw. since anon brought it up, you should also probably disable cookies in Firefox, too, Sirk.

2:26 AM  
Anonymous The Hidden said...

I just want to add, that NoScript does work on a whitelist, not a blacklist.
Per default it blocks anything. Flash is normally also blocked as the player relies on active JavaScript to run. I use it and normally get the message "You need the Flash Plugin to view this site" error, even with installed flash plugin. I have to allow the site specifically to get the content in these cases.

I had to temporarily allow just to post this comment, btw

4:22 AM  
Blogger Daniel said...

My bad, I was confused. I thought a blacklist blocked everything by default and a whitelist was vice-versa. I used to have NoScript installed, along with AdBlockPlus, but now, I just have Karma Blocker installed. For some reason, NoScript made pages load much slower on my browser, so I decided it was best to just stop using it.

5:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sadnboxie is a program that allows you to run a program in an isolated "sandbox' that disappears after you close it, leaving no permanent changes on your hardrive. Other options are running a VMware setup. This allows you to run a 'virtual' operating system as well. If it gets corrupted, you simply turn it off.

6:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excuse my bad typing Sandboxie.

6:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I'm not mistaken you can press F12 in Opera and siable java, java script and plug-ins from sites. It looks like it should be the same as 'no-script' and 'no-flash' plug-ins from firefox
Empty cash and temp internet files on exit option seems like a safe bet aswell to me

2:35 PM  
Anonymous Tainted Ink said...

Just use someone else's computer.

3:08 PM  
Blogger Sirkowski said...


Thanks Anonymous, I forgot about that option. Problem solved.

11:08 PM  
Blogger Ariel said...

haha that's awesome that you use Opera, cause I used that before :D

I had to use FireFox because my computer started to act up badly
er yeah ^_~

2:40 PM  
Blogger Sirkowski said...

Opera, the best browser for porn!

7:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could always have Linux as a secondary/usb system, and you could browse that way. Though I find Opera's a little buggy when it comes to Ubuntu. Try using something like the lynx text-only browser (Win32/Linux). Or you could try Sandboxie: .

8:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I use linux, no viruses.

Hovewer you are an artist, and actualy there is nothing for artist in linux (except gimp, and krita) so I recomend you to get a mac if you want to use your pc without viruses.

6:30 PM  
Blogger Sirkowski said...

Poor artists are on PC. ;-)

7:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Second hand mac? It's better than vista...

1:43 PM  
Blogger Sirkowski said...

Been on the same PC for the past 4 years, on XP and nothing to complain. The machine is still working perfectly.

3:15 PM  

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