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Steer Clear of Malicious Web Sites with AVG LinkScanner

Viruses, spyware, and other evil code can bring down an otherwise healthy PC in a matter of seconds. That's why security is essential, and why you might want to consider adding a new tool to your arsenal: AVG LinkScanner promises to keep you away from harmful Web sites.

This free plug-in for Firefox and Internet Explorer scans search results from engines like Google, MSN, and Yahoo, adding color-coded icons to each item so you know at-a-glance if it's dangerous. Here's an example of what you'll see:

If you actually try to click through to a flagged site, LinkScanner will flat-out block your access with a full-page warning similar to what you see above. Tough love, right?

Of course, the plug-in scans more than just search results. It also peeks at links in sites you're currently viewing and the URLs you type into your browser. For example, you might be viewing a perfectly safe site that has perfectly unsafe ad links. If you click one, LinkScanner does its thing.

I tend to avoid most security software (read my recent PC World story to find out why), but installng LinkScanner seems like a no-brainer. I noticed no performance hit while testing it, so I can't see any downside to using it. Certainly not the price. [via AppScout]

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