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How To Determine If A Website Is Safe

Scrolling through your Facebook news feed, you see a friend shared a link to an interesting story.  It’s obvious it will take you to a different website if you click on it.

Or maybe you’re a recipient of one of those emails a friend sent to everyone in her address list.  You’re encouraged to click on the link to watch a funny video clip.

Because you’re a faithful reader of this tech column, you know you’ve got to be careful on the Internet.  Viruses and malware lie in wait to infect your computer.

So how can you tell if a website is safe to visit or not – before you browse to it?  How can you be sure your PC won’t become infected?

The bad news

Unfortunately, there’s no guaranteed way to assure a website is completely safe or virus and malware free.

The good news

But there are some fairly reliable tools you can use to help gauge the safety of a website before you visit it.

First, you can use online web-based scanners to examine the web address.

·      Norton SafeWeb –

Security vendor Symantec offers this website to provide you an analysis of a website’s reputation.  Most of its information comes from the general public who submit reviews based on their interactions with the websites.  So you must still use caution because these reviews are not necessarily legitimate.

·      Comodo Site Inspector –

Comodo Site Inspector, a free service by the popular cybersecurity vendor, will scan a URL for twelve potentially harmful components that could damage your computer.  The scan can take several minutes to complete.

·      ScanURL –

Similar to Norton SafeWeb, checks multiple databases such as Google SafeBrowsing, Web of Trust, and PhishTank to see if a site has been reported as a potentially malicious site.

Second, you can implement DNS filtering on your router.

DNS can be considered the phone book of the Internet.  Each website address (like points to a specific server address comprised of numbers where the site is hosted, known as an IP address.

OpenDNS offers a free service for home users, allowing you to filter all your Internet traffic through their DNS servers, which are programmed to block known harmful websites.  It can also speed up your web browsing, compared to using your Internet Service Provider’s default DNS servers.

You can check out their packages at

Finally, you can install a web filtering software program on your computer.

The Managed Web Protection we offer prevents you from visiting websites known contain malware, spyware, adware, and other infections.  It also functions as a parental control tool – keeping your kids and grandkids from visiting inappropriate websites.

Of course, the safest method of all – don’t click!

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10 Amazing Google Search Tricks To Help You Find What You’re Looking For Faster

Practically everything you ever wanted to know (and even stuff you don’t!) can be found on the Internet. A simple Google search can help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

If you’re like me, you’re all about saving time and making life easier. Google has created a really smart search engine to help you find what you’re looking for faster and easier. For this article, I’ve researched and compiled a list of 10 cool Google search tricks.

NOTE:  Some of these tips may work on other search engines, such as Bing and Yahoo.


What time is it?

To find the local time in the city nearest you, simply type in what time is it in the search box. If you want to find out the current time in a specific city, type in what time is it followed by the name of the city (for example, what time is it New York City).


Do math

If you don’t have a calculator handy, or just don’t want to try to do the numbers in your head, Google can perform even the most complex of mathematical calculations. Simply write the math equation in the search box.


Find movie show times

Yes, Showplace Cinemas lists movie times on their website. But you can find them out quickly and easily using Google. In the search box, type movie: followed by the name of the movie. For example, movie: The Expendables 2.


Look up definitions

Remember those bulky red Webster’s dictionaries from high school?  Now you can access every word at your fingertips. To find out what a word means, type define: followed by the word. For example, define: enigma.


Search for similar terms

It’s best to be as specific as possible when searching for something on the Internet. However, many different words can be used to describe the same thing. You can use a the tilde (~) sign before the word you want synonyms for. For example, if you’re searching for tutorials, in the search box you can type ~tutorials. This will bring up results for tutorials, guides, manuals, resources and several other similar words.


Search for specific terms

Another way to narrow down your search results is to use specific words or phrases. Type your word or phrase in quotation marks in the Google search box. For example, “Google search tips”.


Search for specific file types

If you’re searching online for a manual for your television, it most likely will be available as a PDF file. However, if you simply search by the make and model of your television, hundreds of useless search results will fill up the pages. Using the filetype statement can help you quickly locate the type of file you are looking for. For example, Panasonic TC-L42E50 manual filetype:PDF returns the user guide as the first search result.


Track packages

Expecting an important FedEx or UPS delivery?  Simply type in the tracking number in the Google search box.


Get flight information

Picking up a friend or family member at the airport and need to know if their flight is on time?  Enter the airline and flight number in the search box. Google will give you the arrival and departure times. For example, Delta flight 5778.


Find places

Although Google maps and Google Earth are powerful tools for finding locations, you can pull up a map right with the Google search bar. Simply type in maps:  followed by the location. For example, maps: Indianapolis, Indiana will display a map of our state capital.