Linkscanner Pro review: Linkscanner Pro

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The Good Linkscanner Pro overlays its ratings atop Google, Yahoo, and MSN search results; the only tool we reviewed that worked with Firefox, Opera, and Internet Explorer; offers some configuration; is a standalone application, not a plug-in, that works with your browser; allows you to view site content without the malicious code installation.

The Bad Linkscanner Pro missed some suspected nonexploit-hosting phishing sites in our tests; help and support should be available in the program not just on the Web site.

The Bottom Line Linkscanner Pro does a superb job of ferreting out sites defaced with dangerous hacker code, but for complete antiphishing protection, you'll still need a second program, such as the free Netcraft toolbar.

7.5 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 7
  • Support 7

Review Sections

Linkscanner Pro

Exploit Prevention Labs Linkscanner Pro takes a decidedly different approach to identifying and alerting users to potentially harmful Web sites. Rather than scan all the Web sites on the Internet and rank them, as McAfee SiteAdvisor does, Linkscanner Pro scans sites as they download onto your browser, identifying code and links known to be malicious. Linkscanner Pro is available as a paid service, and it's the only secure browsing tool we reviewed to include Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Opera. A free version, Linkscanner Lite, is only available for Internet Explorer, although a Firefox version is promised. Linkscanner is the brainchild of veteran antivirus researcher Roger Thompson, and rather than rely on database information, it takes a live snapshot of the health of any given Web site as it loads, quickly identifying sites that have been altered by criminal hackers via cross-site scripting attacks, such as the 2007 Super Bowl Web site. For blocking malicious code from entering your brwoser, Linkscanner is excellent, however, we found it doesn't always identify ordinary, nonexploit-related phishing and fraud sites with such zeal.

We had no trouble installing Linkscanner Pro. Unlike the free Netcraft toolbar and SiteAdvisor, Linkscanner Pro works in the background, identifying Web site content independent of which Internet browser you use. Unlike SiteAdvisor and the Netcraft toolbar, Linkscanner Pro has its own interface. There's a tab to cut and paste suspicious URLs--handy for ferreting out e-mail phishing attacks. There's a tab that displays all active Internet services on your computer--handy for spotting spyware. There are tabs for exploits prevented and exploit sites blocked (that is, sites hosting the exploit code).

Linkscanner plays well with other secure browsing tools from McAfee and Netcraft, as well as the native antiphishing tools within Netscape and Internet Explorer 7.

Unlike the Netcraft toolbar, which only detects suspected phishing sites, Linkscanner Pro and SiteAdvisor display their safety ratings over your current Internet search result page when using Google, Yahoo, or, but not Ask or A9. While Linkscanner Pro and SiteAdvisor generally agreed, we did find more than one legitimate Web site that Linkscanner Pro identified as suspicious that SiteAdvisor did not flag.

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