Friday, April 24, 2009

Surf Safely 1: Scan Links in Real Time. Not a Database.

Over my next few posts, I will be introducing a series of safe search advisors. Why have these? They help you know which sites are safe BEFORE you visit them and if you do visit them, most will warn you or even block the site. This is the first in the series.

Linkscanner (from Exploit Prevention Labs, now acquired by AVG) is back as an individual standalone product no longer requiring the AVG Suite.

Like other safe search tools, it puts tiny color coded icons next to search results showing if its safe. However, LinkScanner literally scans the links in real time rather than getting data off a database. This is a great way to protect from drive by downloads and other threats, but how effective is Linkscanner?

For Microsoft Windows only. Supports Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox.
Download from AVG Site.
Download from CNET
The following test was run on Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 on Mozilla Firefox 3.0.9.

Style: Real Time Scanning

The installation is straight forward offering you the AVG Security Toolbar. The toolbar has a Yahoo! search bar that cannot be disabled, although the toolbar components can be. The box is checked by default. Remember to uncheck the box if you do not wish to have the toolbar, like me

User Interface:
Yes, it has a GUI. Basically the AVG Security Software one except just for LinkScanner. I found this to be unnecessary to be running in the background all day since Linkscanner isn't an antivirus product; it only runs in the browser.
Linkscanner's performance is actaully quite well. It barely slows the pages down. It scans each search result one by one, each taking a fraction of a second. The first few come out faster than other site advisors.

Known Malicious Site Test (Search-Shield)
Please do not visit any of the sites listed here unless you know what you're doing. They are known sites distributing malware. We will help but will not be held responsible for what may happen if you visit malicious sites. Linkscanner Scanned this as GREEN Linkscanner Scanned this as REDActive Surf-Search
Upon visiting a scanned malicious site, a warning appears preventing you from visiting the page with a small link to click if you really want to go anyway, like the following shown when I entered into the location bar.
Additional Note: Linkscanner supports Google Search, Live Search, and Yahoo! Search. When I tested it, it didn't work on Yahoo! Search. On both browsers, green ratings shows as a white space and only sites not green have an icon (can't find any yellow or orange), as shown below. Notice only RED ratings are shown here.

Also, I found it nearly impossible to find a site scanned as Yellow or Orange with the majority being scanned as Green.

I recommend having all 3 types of advisors for optimal security: Community Based, Web Crawler, and Real Time Scanner. I use WOT, Norton SafeWeb, and Linkscanner. I used to use McAfee SiteAdvisor, however, from personal experience, it slowed down browsing, has a lot of inaccurate and/or obsolete ratings, and commonly didn't show up on Google searches. The ratings on this blog have been generated by WOT.

I am not affiliated with AVG or Exploit Prevention Labs in any way.
Download AVG Linkscanner here.

That's all folks for today! Please comment on tech as we need comments to improve on the tech guide. Don't hesitate to ask any questions. Thanks!
By - WinTechpedia™ 2009 Contributors.

Save Ink!

Running out of ink in you're printer is annoying, Do you know how to have that happen less often? Use Ecofont!

Supposedly when you print a document using “Ecofont” it will use up to 20% less ink (a little math, that means that for every 10 pieces of paper that you print using it saves 2 and a half pieces of paper over other fonts) which could save you quite a bit if you're printing lots of stuff all the time. This is because of the fonts design which is modeled off of Swiss cheese.


It looks pretty cool and at a distance it doesn't look any different from other fonts if it's size is set small. I would recommend trying this to anyone that has a printer.

You can get it here:
and here's their homepage:

That's all folks for today! Please comment on tech as we need comments to improve on the tech guide. Don't hesitate to ask any questions. Thanks!
By - WinTechpedia™ 2009 Contributors