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What is broken link hijacking and how does it affect you?

What are broken links

First of all, we must explain what exactly that of broken link. When we enter a web page, such as RedesZone, we will find many links that redirect to other sites. They can be links that take us to another section of that same website, such as another article, but also to an external website, such as the official website of a manufacturer.

These links can work for a time and, for different reasons, they can stop being active. Take, for example, a link that leads to a program to analyze networks. That show, after a while, changes its name and they also have a different domain. The old domain is rendered useless and may expire.

That would be a broken link. Basically it means that when entering the link we are not going to reach the destination. We will find an error that tells us that this page does not exist. So far the problem would not be greater, at least on paper. It is simply a mistake and would seem harmless.

What is link hijacking?

Broken links can become a Important problem That can affect both the users who enter a web page, as well as that website itself. Let’s think again about that domain of that program to analyze networks that has now changed its name. A web page continues to link, even though it no longer exists.

A hacker can notice this and, after the domain expires, buy it. This means that web page can be active again. Now I could use it for bad purposes and seriously jeopardizing the safety of visitors.

What could I do? The first thing is that you could create a page with appearance of being the original of that program to analyze networks. You could upload a file that is supposed to be that application, but is actually a virus. When a visitor downloads and installs it, their computer is automatically infected.

The problem is that the victim will reach that link from a reliable site. Of course, at first the website was linking to an official link, from a program to analyze networks that worked well and was totally safe. But the person in charge of that site did not realize that the link was broken, that there has been a change, and an attacker can take advantage of that situation.

But in addition to this, an attacker could acquire that domain and create a page similar to the web that links to it. Basically it is as if it were another section of that site. If a visitor clicks on the link, they would go to a page that, apparently, would be the same. You could, for example, log in or download a file without suspecting that it is actually on a totally different website and that it was created to steal information.

How to avoid it

Here we must bear in mind that there are two different parts: the responsible for the website and visitors. In both cases we can take measures to prevent this type of attack and to be able to surf the net with greater security, without exposing personal data and having problems.

Plugin to detect links that do not work

The vast majority of websites today are built on WordPress. There are a large number of add-ons that we can install and with which we can configure our site, protect it from threats and offer functions to visitors that we could not without them. plugins.

And yes, there are also plugins that are capable of detect and warn in case we have broken links. It is interesting to have this type of software on our site to avoid everything that we have explained related to the hijacking of broken links that can put visitors at risk.

An example is Broken Link Checker. It is completely free and serves to track our site and detect possible links that are broken. In this way, as soon as you find something that does not work well we can eliminate it. This will prevent it from becoming a major security problem in the future.

Review the website we visit very well

But, how do we protect ourselves in the event that we are a visitor to a web page? The most important thing is to always correctly check the links that we are visiting. In this way we can find possible anomalies, such as that the page does not have a secure appearance and may contain files that are actually viruses.

Sometimes just with a overview from that website we will be able to detect problems. But it will also be essential to maintain common sense and not log into pages that are not encrypted or through links that take us outside a web page.

Have the equipment protected

On the other hand, another general advice to avoid being victims of the problems related to the hijacking of broken links, is to have your computers well protected. We must have a good antivirus, as can be the case with Windows Defender, Avast or Bitdefender. Any other guarantee could be valid, as long as it is updated and works correctly.

Avoid security problems in the office

In addition, having the latest versions of the operating system, browser or any program that we use will also prevent the entry of threats. This is going to be essential, since sometimes vulnerabilities appear that can be exploited by a virus to steal information, for example.

In short, the hijacking of broken links is a major problem that can affect web pages and that we must control. The ideal is to always check the links that we have on a website and check that they work correctly and have not changed. Also, for users, it is essential to have a good antivirus and have everything updated.

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