How to Identify a Hyperlink

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Hyperlinks are easy to identify on a Web page by either looking for the typical blue underlined text or pointing your mouse cursor at the text and watching it turn into a tiny hand icon. However, identifying the destination of the link can be tricky. Links can be spoofed to look like a legitimate link when in fact they redirect you to a site designed to infect your computer or trick you into revealing important information. Checking the status bar for the link URL should become become second nature before clicking a link, but even this can be fooled with JavaScript. To properly identify a link, you can copy it to a text file for inspection.

  • Right-click the link in your browser and select "Copy Link Location" or "Copy Shortcut."

  • Click the "Start" button, then "All Programs," then "Accessories" and then "Notepad."

  • Hold the "Ctrl" and press "V" keys to paste the URL into Notepad.

  • Examine the link to see the true destination. If the pasted link is not the one displayed in your status bar, then it is being spoofed. Likewise, if you see multiple domain names in the URL, separated with an @ sign, then it may be spoofed. As an example, you might see "http://www.google.com@maliciousdomain.com." Although it appears Google is your destination, the domain after the @ sign is actually the link.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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