An old link can be a problem
Whenever we browse we find many links to access websites. For example, we can reach a page that has links that take us to a specific product, a forum, a different section… But those links may be broken. could appear error codes like 404 and not reach the destination.
This usually happens when we enter a sloppy website, usually outdated, which maintains old links that no longer exist. Basically it was something that worked at some point, but today that website has already disappeared or has changed the URL without anyone having modified it.
A study by Harvard has shown that there are many links pointing to URLs that are even decades old. Many of them no longer exist, but the links continue there. Websites are closed, they change owners, they change their name… And yes, this can be a significant security problem.
The problem comes when we enter one of those broken links, old, and we end up on a page that has nothing to do with it. Think, for example, of a website that leads to another to expand information. This second page stopped working years ago, but now a hacker has bought that domain precisely to take advantage of the links that are posted on many other sites.
It can create a fake page, containing viruses and threats, to which many users will arrive thinking that they are visiting a legitimate site. They will take advantage of this to steal information, passwords or compromise privacy. This is known as broken link hijacking.
But in addition, it can also be a problem for lose credibility or even valuable information. For example, an academic website may have a link to an old source, where you collected information from, but that is no longer available. That makes you lose credibility.
How to avoid problems with these links
If we think of the security, it is essential to avoid trouble clicking on such links and ending up on malicious sites. We must always maintain common sense and observe very well where we are entering. You should never log in to a page that is not trusted, where you cannot check if it is really trustworthy.
To avoid problems, it is also advisable keep everything updated and have security programs. On the one hand, you will be able to correct certain vulnerabilities that may appear. On the other hand, those security programs will detect the entry of malware and help you remove viruses.
But there is also the problem of links becoming unavailable and affecting the credibility of the sources. What solution could there be for it? One of the solutions is the Wayback Machine, which is used to see what a web page was like at a given time. There we can find old articles, for example. But another option is what Harvard has devised by creating Perma.cc, which allows capturing permanent versions of websites.
In short, as you have seen, old links can be a problem. For one thing, it can seriously compromise security. But it could also affect a page’s reputation and lose credibility.