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Spotting deceptive links

Author Image Posted by: Chris Nagy
Sep 13, 2010

Category: IT services

Links to pages of a website or documents hosted online appear on our PC screens nearly all the time we. Be it on a website, in an email or in a document links are how we navigate the World Wide Web to find the information we are looking for.

For people who use the internet it may not appear to be important to understand the basics of how a link works, you click on the link and it takes you to a another page, but this lack of understanding can lead to many users to become susceptible to spam and viruses. Spam emails linking to pages designed to infect you PC with viruses have become a huge problem in today's world but understanding how they use links to infect your PC can make it far easier to spot the danger.

The first thing to know about links is that they are made up of two parts, one part containing the address of where the link takes you and the second part containing how the link appears to the user (some of you may already see where this is going)

Most links are what are known as text links. Text links have the address of the page the link takes you two and the display part which will be made up of plain text (as apposed to image links which display an image).

Now the trick that catches many people out is that it is then possible to have a link that looks like It takes you to one place but instead it takes you somewhere else. The link below might look like it takes you to the website for 10 downing street but if you click on it you will find it may take you somewhere a little different (don't worry its work safe!)


We are able to do this because we have made the display text read the URL of one website when the real link URL is of a different website. If you are to copy the text and paste it into a web browser address bar you will find you go to the website that is actually being presented to you.

Author Image
About: Chris Nagy

Experienced in agile project management and software implementation, Chris is a Key Account Manager with a sharp eye for detail and a clear focus on ensuring customer targets are met in full.

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