When clicking on a web link in an email, people don’t really know where the link will take them to. Malware distributors use disguised links to fool people into visiting sites that attempt to install malicious code. Click and… CRASH.
Links might appear legitimate but have a letter missing or altered, such as “wikipedia.com” appearing as “wikipidia.com”. Another trick is to embed a hyperlink that is different from the text link shown in the message. Short links from services like “bitly” and “tinyURL” are great for fitting long links into email, Twitter and Facebook messages, but can also be used to hide malicious websites.
Phishing scammers send messages that pose as legitimate companies to deceive people into giving up personal or financial information. Here again, the links and destination websites appear legitimate, such as PayPal or a bank, but are not. Any personal or account information provided could be used for identity theft.
Among the myriad of internet security threats, the prevalence of malicious URL links is rightly one from which companies want to protect their users.