Friday, January 31, 2014

Links. Scam, or legit?

This article was published in Fusion Magazine, January 2014. Click for the magazine!

Greetings everybody! The rise in incidents of stealing accounts by spreading misleading links has made many people become so scared of links, that they refuse to click any of them. This may cause us to reject valid, beneficial links, because we systematically reject links without understanding why. This article's goal is to explain how web addresses are built, so we can understand what makes a link valid, or not.

In a nutshell, a link consists of three main parts:


Protocol specifies technical details about how the information is transferred. We don't need to know the details, but at least recognize the most used ones: http and https.

After Protocol, we always find the characters :// together. What comes next, before the next / character, is the server. Then, after the following / character, what we find is the specific page within the server (which may be located under a certain folder, so we may find several / characters).

The important thing for us is to learn how the server name is built.

First: Server names are built of two or more parts. Parts are always separated by a dot . character.
Second: At a minimum, there's first a domain name, and following that, a top level domain (TLD) like com,, gov,, etc.

For example:

The Server is The domain name is secondlife. The TLD is com.

Then, there may be at least a subdomain name preceding the domain name. It will also be separated by a dot from the domain name. For example:

This link is the wiki subdomain within the secondlife domain, TLD being com.

Official links from SL will always have secondlife as domain, com as TLD.

Phishing links are built by creating domain names that resemble to the original names, to trick us.

Now we can understand why the following links are not valid SL links:
(Domain name is... secondlifecom? That's not secondlife!)
(Again, domain name is not secondlife)
(Double check domain names for spelling! This one says seconlife, that's not secondlife!)

and why the following links are valid:

Remember before entering any login and password data to check in your browser bar the web address. If it does not conform to the rules explained, then do not enter any data.

Stay safe. Enjoy your SL.

No comments:

Post a Comment