A malicious website is any website that once you click on it, can do more harm than good on your computer. It depends on how advanced the hacker technology is on the website. Some malicious websites can find private information about you while you browse them. Additionally, phishing emails can lure you into clicking on a fake website.
Some hackers are so advanced you don’t have to click or do any action on the website. A “drive-by” download could easily be inside your computer. It’s important to know what you’re clicking on and whether the specific downloads are safe for use.
Examples of Malicious Websites
To become security savvy, you must learn what websites are home to malicious software. Here are a few examples of how websites can disguise themselves as safe internet content. They can lure you with a benign click and add malware to your dental practice PC or laptop.
This company developed news websites that weren’t legit and copied headlines from legitimate news sources online. Their target was consumers, businesses, and government officials to phish campaigns. The links to these malicious websites redirected virtual visitors to phishing sites, requesting login credentials for Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and other email companies.
#2. Leading Credit Bureau
The personal information of approximately 150 million users were exposed, ruining people’s reputations and personal lives. After this big scandal, cybercriminals started to mimic the same process the credit bureau did and launch similar malicious websites to steal people’s identities.
This software is malware now commonly used by cybercriminals during the COVID-19 pandemic. These malicious websites targeted people trying to find more information about the pandemic. It mimicked coronavirus dashboards. The malware infected PCs with the front that people would have the most up-to-date information about the pandemic. After downloading this malware on PCs or laptops, it would steal browsing history, passwords, cookies, and cryptocurrency.
#4. Torrent Sites
Sites like BitTorrent are used to share files, including pirated materials such as movies, music, games, and software packages. The files on these sites are not vetted, and often have little to no security. Any file downloaded from this site could be laced with malware. These sites are considered the most dangerous places to visit on the web.
How to Identify a Malicious Website
Malicious websites can be difficult to detect, but they share similar characteristics across the board that can help you avoid clicking on a fake website. The common practices of a malicious website include:
- When on the website, a popup requests you to download software, save a file, or run a program unrelated to the purpose or content of the website.
- You receive an alert indicating your device has malware or that your software is out-of-date. It’s important to go straight to the source, which is the brand of your laptop’s website, and figure out if you legitimately need a software update.
- A message is received saying you won a prize and must enter personal information about yourself to claim it.
- When a website uses HTTP as the web address prefix instead of a more secure protocol like HTTPS. A website that uses HTTPS has encryption to increase the security of data transfers, which HTTP does not.
- If a website has spelling errors in the body of texts or the URL, or graphic design doesn’t match the website’s overall tone and aura, that’s a huge red flag. It’s likely a fake website that is incognito as a malicious website.
Phishing emails are a common tool for hackers. They go directly to an individual, without requiring the user to go out to a website, and they direct them to a malicious website. These websites often look like popular websites, but this is only a cosmetic similarity. Once on these sites, data is harvested from the user.
You can spot these emails similarly to a malicious website, by looking for misspellings, use of suspicious domains, and other irregularities.
How to Protect Against Malicious Websites
A wise precaution to take with internet security is the use of anti-malware and anti-virus software. This ensures that an accidental click or a minor lapse in judgment does not lead to technical or financial disaster.
When looking at security and protection software you can add to your PC or laptop, here are some of the options they should include in their protection packages:
- Website Blocker: Warns you if you are clicking on a dangerous site using a regularly updated database.
- Real-Time Scanning: Ensure your internet activity and downloads are safe.
- Privacy Protection: Prevents a website from mining your personal data.
- Pop-Up Blockers: Disable or prevent automatic downloading of tracking cookies and other malicious software.
- Firewall: Filter out trojans, viruses, and other malicious software.
- Software Updates: Ensures all of your applications are up-to-date.
- Data Encryption: Makes it difficult for hackers to interpret your data.
- Scheduled Scans: Provides reassurance that any unsafe software will be identified quickly.
Doing your part as a consumer and educating yourself on the tell signs of malicious behavior online and reporting it to your protection software will help protect you and others from malicious programs and sites.
This includes protecting your dental business and your customers from bad actors on the internet. An employee who clicks on a phishing email may expose staff and clients to a data breach.
Any business is a target for such attacks, including retail outlets, restaurants, and even dental offices. To protect a business, you should consult a professional service that provides a tailor-made solution to your security needs.
Get Advice From the Experts
No matter how interesting a website looks and seems, stay alert for the signs of dangerous software. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If a website seems suspicious with all the characteristics stated above, don’t click on it. Stick to reputable sites, with a good track record, before downloading any software.
When in doubt about your knowledge of malicious websites, find protection software for your devices that will make sure sensitive information stored in your business’ devices is not affected. Preparation and research are your best defense against malicious content on the internet.
Contact Erickson Dental today, so our team of IT experts can help your dental practice learn more about identifying malicious websites.