Today's online crooks often add attack programming known as an exploit to a hacked site or a specifically created malicious Web page. Those exploits look for particular software vulnerabilities in Windows, Web browsers, or even utilities such as QuickTime and Winzip that allow them to download and install malware on your PC without your ever having to click 'ok.'
You can block these security vulnerabilities by keeping your software up-to-date, but LinkScanner Pro offers additional protection for holes that you might have missed or that don't yet have a patch. The program scans sites before they display in Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Opera, and will block sites found to contain known exploits.
LinkScanner Pro will also scan search results from Google, Yahoo and Microsoft and display a colored safety indicator icon next to each result, similar to that placed by McAfee's SiteAdvisor. However, while it works happily alongside McAfee's popular app, it doesn't work the same way. SiteAdvisor's rating is based on more wide-ranging criteria--such as whether a site sends spam or touts a potentially dangerous download--but it doesn't scan a site in real time for exploits. LinkScanner Pro, on the other hand, won't warn about spam or downloads, but can identify a just-added exploit on a newly hacked Web site.
You can bring up Linkscanner's straightforward interface from a system tray icon. From there you can have LinkScanner scan a particular URL without bringing up your browser, view all current network activity on your PC, and see a list of all exploits and sites blocked.
A free, Lite version offers the same search result safety icons as the Pro version, but doesn't check other visited pages in real-time. Also, the software maker, Exploit Prevention Labs, was recently bought by antivirus vendor AVG, so look for Linkscanner to be included in AVG's security product line-up.