Can I Limit My Exposure To Malware By Reading Web Site RSS Feeds?

When you think of getting information off of a web page you usually think of it being a simple process – you type the URL of the site that you want to go to in the browser, go to the web page, and then read the content that is on the page.

It sounds simple, right?

Most of the time it is, but there are times when this is not so simple.

Inside of the code that made it possible for you to read the page that you are looking at could be lurking some dangerous malware.

Malware can be easily picked up and hidden on a web page.

So, unless it is a trusted site, then you are taking a chance that nothing is going to happen to your computer when you actually visit the page.

But there are other ways that you can get the information off of the site as well.

Subscribe To Your Favourite Sites Via RSS

You can use a technology called RSS that will allow you to see the content as well, at least most of the time.

Some web pages will limit the amount of lines that the RSS feed shows so that you will be forced to visit the web page itself (this is typically because they are afraid of having their content scraped).

Other RSS feeds will only give you the title of the story that is being discussed – you must, again, visit the web page to get the full details.

But by far, most web pages will allow you to read the entire story in the RSS feed itself.

They may show little ads in the RSS feed so that they can provide you the content while at the same time they are still able to get paid.

RSS Feed Reading May Be Safer

If you are reading the information about the web page on an RSS feed then this means that you are less vulnerable to an attack as the majority of attacks happen when you are exposed to the code that is on the actual web page itself.

With an RSS feed the actual page is not going to your browser, it is only the content of the site that is being delivered to you.

Keep in mind; even though it may be safer to receive the content like this, it is not fool proof.

If someone wanted to, they could easily attack the RSS feed as well.

The main reason that this is safer at this point is because attackers do not bother with it.

There are not that many reported attacks when it comes to the RSS feed.

Even though RSS feeds are not one hundred percent safe, they seem to be safer than visiting the actual web page.

So if you want to make sure that your computer is not attacked, try subscribing to the RSS feed of a site instead.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

Comments

  1. I have found that its a good idea to keep up with those feeds , like yours Lee, that explains stuff in plain simple English so that you can scan it quickly an understand it. Since i pass on a lot of info to many other users i have to keep it rather simple since many wouldnt understand a lot of technical stuff an it would only confuse them.

    • Well I don’t know if you’ve ever read my ‘About’ page because you mention the exact reason why I created this site – the need to examine this topic in plain English.

      Whilst I’m certainly not a technophobe, I’m most definitely no expert either and I always struggled to find interesting information in a format that I could fully understand.

      Hopefully I am succeeding in doing that here.

  2. The way feeds go sometimes its a chore just to keep up with them, some change,some go dead for whatever reason.

    Besides yours, i follow Krebs on Security, Help Net Security, Security Labs, Security Bloggers Network,, an then a rather large number of individuals including some from Microsoft,F-Secure, there are so many good ones out there posting.

    • Thanks for those Dave – I only actually follow 2 of the ones you mentioned so I’ll have to go and add the others pronto.

  3. Hi Dave

    Thanks for following my RSS feed – its good to know who at least one of my subscribers is :)

    I too follow many RSS feeds but never seem to have quite enough time to read them all and so find myself simply scanning titles, looking for something that sticks out.

    I guess that means I miss a lot of great content… are there any must-read sites in this field that you would recommend for those of us who have little time on our hands?

  4. I use RSS feeds a lot, even have http://www.security-faqs.com on a rss feed for quicker access to articles. They are great for looking for the articles that interest you on a website.

    I like the little extra protection too.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Of course you could always minimise the risk even more by reading your favourite web sites in an RSS reader. […]

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jaime, Lee. Lee said: Can I Limit My Exposure To Malware By Reading Web Site RSS Feeds? http://bit.ly/9QnqfZ […]

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