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LinkScanner stands alone once more!


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LinkScanner is once again available as an independent plug-in for Windows-based Firefox and Internet Explorer, following more than a year spent as a feature of AVG Technologies' AVG security suite. Still available as part of AVG, users can now once again download LinkScanner independently of AVG's antivirus software, and for free.



AVG's LinkScanner evaluates link safety on the fly, as well as making click-throughs for dangerous sites harder.

(Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)


The new LinkScanner works much the same as the original one did. Once you've installed the EXE, AVG's "Search Shield" returns search results from both Google and Yahoo with flags next to them. Green flags on Google indicate a result is safe to click through to, while Yahoo safe results display no flags. Links that are unsafe on both search engines will return red flags.


Hovering over a flag will pop open a window that provides further details about the link. Green flags will show you the IP address, the amount of time the scan took, and the date and time of the most recent scan. Red flags highlight the same information, as well as the risk category and the site name. Attempting to click through to a red-flagged page will take you to a warning screen that repeats most of the red-flag information--AVG calls this the "Active Surf-Shield".


A small link at the bottom of the red-blocked screen will let you click through, although it cautions users that it will continue to block potentially harmful content. When I tried to click through to warez.com, for example, LinkScanner would only show me the CSS code for the page.



LinkScanner doesn't have references for all links, as evidenced by the third one in this Google search for ringtones.

(Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)


In addition to the clear messages behind the green and red flags, LinkScanner also offers two "slow down" warnings. The first is yellow with one exclamation point in it, while the second is orange and has two exclamation points. I found it nearly impossible to locate search results with a yellow or orange flag, but the meaning is clear: we can't tell what this is, but it looks sketchy so be careful.


It's worth noting, too, that both green flag and red flag boxes (and, presumably, the yellow and orange warning boxes) include a link at the bottom to an AVG product comparison page.


Before Grisoft, now AVG Technologies, bought LinkScanner, many users appreciated that both the free version and the paid LinkScanner upgrade provided smooth integration with your daily Web browsing habits. There are some similar services, such as McAfee's SiteAdvisor, that have interfered with performance for some users--an instant turn-off. After trying LinkScanner out for half the day, though, I was pleased to see that the once-again independently available add-on continues to function as well as it did in the past.


I'll make sure to try this one out. :)


EDIT: Actually I won't try it out; you have to install it. :unsure:

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Probably has to be installed because it's for IE and Firefox and they don't have it independently available for the separate browsers - just like the new SiteAdvisor.

If this app is effective, is the installation really a problem? I'm currently using Site Advisor 26.6 for Firefox, but many complain that it's ratings aren't always current and often it's not updated quickly enough. I haven't tried LinkScanner, so I don't know if it's any better -- but the "hype" sounds pretty good.

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Since my last post, I installed and ran LinkScanner under Returnil. Not sure I'll be using it. It's a little too involved for me -- considering what it does. IMO, simpler is better.

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If this app is effective, is the installation really a problem? I'm currently using Site Advisor 26.6 for Firefox, but many complain that it's ratings aren't always current and often it's not updated quickly enough. I haven't tried LinkScanner, so I don't know if it's any better -- but the "hype" sounds pretty good.


Hey Tom, your SiteAdvisor out of date.Now V.2.9.258,won't upgrade ? http://www.siteadvisor.com/download/windows.html


I don't like AVG.It's unreliable,too much missed n FP. I still can't believe it's most downloaded AV at Download.com

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If you want a decent Link Scanner, try using "Dr.Web Link Scanner".


There's a version for IE and Firefox, and I've just found out it's also possible to get it running with Opera. Needs a little editing to one of Opera's .INI files, but quite easy to do.


The links for the Link Scanners are down on the left under "Free Utilities".


Dr.Web Link Scanners:


If anyone wants to give the Opera one a try, but not sure about the method, I'll be happy to go into more detail.

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I'll give it a try Dennis, but I need the instructions on how to use it in Opera.


OK Ice, it's easy but a little fiddly.


On that web page you can see an example of a section taken from the Opera configuration file "standard_menu.ini".


As it says on the page, you can find yours in C:\Program Files\Opera\defaults. You need to open that file by double clicking, and it should open in Notepad.


But before that, the first thing to do is to make a copy of the "standard_menu.ini". You can do that by holding down control, left click and hold the mouse on the file, and drag it to an empty space in the folder. You should now have a "copy of standard_menu.ini" in case of mistakes. Or you can just copy it to another folder if you like.


Now, take the first part of that web page example, which is "Link Popup Menu".


In your own opened "standard_menu.ini", go to "Edit\Find" in the toolbar menu, and enter "Link Popup Menu" (no quotes").


When you find it, you need to enter this line (copy and paste) ......


"Item, "Scan link with Dr.Web" = "Go to Page, "java script:document.location='http://online.drweb.com/result?url='+escape('%l')""


...... in the same place it is entered on the web page example. This is my standard_menu.ini:




And I've pointed out the extra line I've added.


When that's done, use the "find" tool to find the next one .. "Document Popup Menu". And repeat the process, as the line to be added is the same in each case. Mine again with the extra line added.




And now use the "find" tool again for the last one ... "Image Link Popup Menu".




Once you've added the extra line to this one, go to "File\Save". That's it, job done, but make sure it works before you delete the "standar_menu.ini" copy you made. Now, when you right click a link, you should get this:




In Firefox, this tool is an extension, and opens a small window with the scan result, which you then close. In Opera, the scan result is shown as an entire page, and you need to use the "back button" to go back to the page where you were checking the link.


If you select the "close" button, you will lose the page which has the link you were checking.


Any problems, ask Andavari or hazel. :) (kiddin')



EDIT: Don't forget, Opera must be closed before you do the "save" bit at the end.

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Whoa nice! Your instructions worked 100% Dennis. Thanks! I used to have the Dr. Web Link Scanner for FF as an extension, but when I quit using FF, I didn't have that feature anymore in Opera. Now I do have it! Thank you Dennis! :)

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  • 2 months later...

Thank you Dennis for your detailed instructions on how to apply DrWeb Link Scanner to Opera. That option coupled with the security/fraud report that you can request via Alt+Enter will be very useful.


I used Firefox for quite some time but always had a really slow launch time. I decided to try Opera 10 and was very pleased with the much quicker launch time. I estimate that in my case Opera 10 launches 4 to 5 times quicker than Firefox 3.5

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