A website’s URL is its address (such as www.google.com) and is unique to a set of IP addresses (such as Humans read URLs while machines interpret IP addresses. Sometimes URLs can be made to look the same, but really they represent completely different websites. For example: www.computerjourney.com is this site’s URL and domain name. Anything before the first period in the URL is still part of this website (i.e. blog.computerjourney.com). However, the opposite does NOT hold true. Thus, computerjourney.blog.com is NOT part of this website. This distinction is very important.

In phishing, spam, and other bad emails, often you will find URLs that look like legitimate business domain names, but aren’t because the last word before the .com, .net, .info, etc doesn’t match the real URL. For example: info.direct.wamu.com might be a legitimate URL for Washington Mutual. Info.direct.wamu-com.cn is not. Take special note of the “.cn” extension, which means the site is hosted in China. URLs with “.ru” as the extension are hosted in Russia. When a site is hosted in these countries where internet regulations are much more lax, it is important to avoid visiting them for risk of being infected with malware.

Before clicking on any link or visiting any site, be sure it is legitimate and safe. If you aren’t sure, you can try typing it into Google to see if it has any malware notes linked to it. This is just one of many important security practices you should employ on a daily basis that will help keep you safe from the dangers of careless web-surfing.