If you have doubts about a website with a slightly dodgy look or if one of your friends seemingly sent you a link to a movie, there’s now a free online service (opens in new tab)that scans individual URLs for dangerous exploits.
Launched by Exploit Prevention, the service is extremely easy to use. Just enter the URL into the online form provided, and press Scan. In a matter of seconds, you will know whether the website is safe or not.
Exploits are malware applications that take advantage of security vulnerabilities in common software applications such as Windows operating systems and browsers.
When a surfer visits one of the sites which have been ‘exploited’, malicious code placed on the site silently connects to an exploit server operated by the criminals and attempts to download viruses, Trojan horses and similar malware onto the user's machine.
If the web surfer is using an operating system or browser that is not patched for the latest vulnerabilities, their machine will be open to infection.
Exploit Prevention Labs has discovered numerous exploit distribution networks in which up to 20,000 trusted and legitimate web sites have been hacked by cyber criminals who were using those sites to spread exploits.