What is a Link Block?

M. McGee

A link block is a method of blocking some or all Internet links from working in a specific circumstance. This is primarily used as a security measure, as some webpages contain harmful material. A link block may work within a certain program or may cover any activity on a computer. Some blocks focus on ads, while others use a central database of good and bad locations. While link blocks seem like they are totally beneficial, certain groups have spoken out against programs and practices as being harmful to the Internet as a whole.

A link block can stop a computer user from going to a website that may contain a virus or other malware.
A link block can stop a computer user from going to a website that may contain a virus or other malware.

Webpages are similar to a visual computer program. They contain scripts and coding that most users never see. Some of these scripts may contain harmful material that is meant to infect a computer with any type of malware. To an average web user, these pages don’t appear harmful, as the problematic portions are hidden within the page’s coding.

In order to protect users, some programs employ a link block. This program searches through the coding of the page as it loads looking for harmful material, links to malware or redirects to harmful websites. If it finds anything it doesn’t like, it warns the user before the page executes. This will give the user time to move away from the webpage to a safer area.

There are a few types of link block programs available. Some programs only work within another program. This is common for browser add-ons that block ads and harmful material. In this case, the program would work in one browser, but another would be totally unprotected.

Other blocking programs affect the entire computer. These types of blocks are often part of a security suite that loads with a computer and remains active all the time. These programs typically catch less bad links, but they are able to do it in areas the other programs are unable to protect.

The other difference in link block programs is in how they find their targets. Certain programs target certain types of links. For instance, the ad-blocking programs mentioned above remove all ads in order to remove any potentially harmful code.

Other link block programs operate using a central database. These databases scour the Internet looking for bad code and malware. The database maintains a listing of sites and informs programs to warn users if they attempt to go to a potentially harmful location.

These programs have had a certain amount of controversy surrounding them. Internet advertisers complain that they reduce their profits. The ads they use, both good and bad, are removed from the webpage before the user sees them. In addition, the database programs can read certain types of benign code as bad and warn people away from safe sites. This practice has caused some site owners a great deal of money.

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