Links on a webpage can link to images, documents, webpages, or even active scripts. The original intent of such links were to connect information and pages such that you could simply click the link to get more information about a topic. However, many sites have abused this simple notion and rather than directly link you to the information you are seeking, the link first routes you through scripts which actively spy on and track your internet activity. In some cases sites will even arbitrarily re-direct your browser to content you don't want to see but which they get credit for passing traffic to. If you are unsure of the website you are surfing or occasionally get directed to content which is not what you were expecting, there is a good chance the website is using one of the following methods to hijack your surfing experience.
The Image Surfer Pro Form shows you exactly what links you are following - including any indirection or website parameters. By understanding what information is in the links you are following and deliberately choosing the links you follow you can greatly increase the security of your browsing session. The Image Surfer Pro form presents the destination of each link on the webpage with a set of options:
This link has both indirection and site parameters removed. If the site you are surfing is entirely clean the only links you will see in the Links column of the Image Surfer Pro Form will be Sterile links.
Though sanitized, these links may still directly reference scripts which could be harmful. Some sanitized links may not contain sufficient information to resolve - parameters removed from a link may cause the link to be invalid.
Clean links have had any indirection removed but direct website parameters remain. This entry in the right column will only exist if there were parameters to be removed in the formation of the Sterile Link. Remember, website parameters may be necessary to access the desired content. In many cases the parameter will designate the gallery id or the media file id being accessed through a common access webpage and without it the webpage may not resolve.
This is the exact link which the content on the original webpage referenced. This link will only be present in the right hand column if there was indirection to be removed in the formation of the Sterile Link. Because indirection is always used in these links, it is strongly recommended that you understand why the indirection is necessary before clicking these links. Clicking one of these links is roughly the same as having clicked the content on the original webpage with a couple minor differences:
Often websites like to open images or other content in a new browser tab or window. This breaks general website design recommendations but is fairly common. This makes it hard to build your fusker collection over multiple pages as each new browser window or tab gets a new instance of the Image Surfer Pro toolbar. The links in the 2nd column of the ISP Form allows you to decide if you want to continue in the same browser window or not. By default they open in the same browser window. If you wish the destination to be displayed in a new window or tab, right click the link and select "Open in new tab" or "Open in new window".
Is That An Image?
While it may be clear that a section of a webpage is an image and not text, that image may be not be what you think it is. The HTML code of the site can change the size and resolution of an image. It could actually be a static frame connection to active content hosted in a dark corner of the web. Even if it is just an image, it could be a hyperlink which connects to spyware.
Is That A Video?
Not every image you see on a page with a ↻ or ► symbol on it is what you think it is. It could be an image with what looks like a Play Button on it. Did you know that even the top tube sites (such as YouTube) don't actually display video files? They display video streams. While on a quality site like YouTube that difference is mostly technical and of little interest, on many sites the difference can be a serous security risk. A video file is similar to an image file in that it is basically static information in a known format. A video stream on the other hand is a direct data connection to a hosting server on the web. When Interenet Explorer displays a video, it reads the file, interprets the data, displays it, and when you click the play/pause button you are interacting with Internet Explorer. When Internet Explorer displays a video stream it simply provides a sized window into which the hosting server streams data. When you click the Play/Pause button (or any other portion of the frame displaying the video stream) you are directly interacting with the hosting server.
An ISP Form lets you know exactly what visual information is present on the page. Each type of media found on the page is displayed in a particular table for that media type. Images are shown in the Image Table. Videos are shown in the Video Table, and Active Content is shown in the Frame Table. You no longer have to guess about what type of media you are viewing and interacting with.
The safer surfing features of an ISP Form are embedded in how the tables and links are formed and presented on the ISP Form and are not affected by any of the User Perferences.
Media File Count The table generated by the Free version of Image Surfer Pro will only access the first 20 images and 2 videos/frames found in the original webpage.
Image Surfer Pro Forms
The table generated by the Free version of Image Surer Pro contains only the first 20 images and up to 2 videos/frames along with the associated links from the website and no selection check boxes. The free verison provides safer and more private surfing as well as a way to continue browsing in the same window and obtain direct image links, but does not provide advanced processing by the button.
The ISP Forms button and the Image Surfer Pro forms it creates can be used for many differnet purposes. The following examples will walk you through examples from the very basic to the more advanced.