Can labels on web pages be trusted?

If a Bad Guy wanted to take advantage of people on a web page, couldn’t links be mislabeled; for example, a “No” button might actually be “Yes,” or “Don’t Accept” means “Accept,” etc.? In all the discussion over spoofing, etc., I’ve never heard anything about this type of trickery. I know that fake URLs can be spotted by close examination, but what about buttons that do the opposite of how they’re labeled? Is this something that happens?


It’s technically possible but why should it? If a site wants to do something regardless of user desire, it can just do it. Unless it’s something the site doesn’t have control of, like getting your location from the browser or access to your microphone.

One similar example from history was the time that MacKeeper put up a web site claiming to be ClamXav with a big green download button that resulted in MacKeeper being installed instead. They did the same to MacPaw’s CleanMyMac back then.

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It might be a good way to influence a poll!

Thanks…I was wondering why we never hear about it; now I’m wondering how much goes on without our knowing about it!

If the link is on the poll site, again, they can make the poll results whatever they want. The problem with web-based polls is less often deception by who’s running the poll and more often by coordinated people (or person using bots) voting to change the outcome to something other than what it would be if there were one person, one vote.

The code for a poll should not be written so that simply following a link results in a vote being cast, especially not a link clicked on a different site.

Unfortunately, there are many sites with deceptive download links. They’re mostly just a nuisance but one does need to pay attention to file names before double-clicking on them and there are some sites that are so sketchy that nothing should be downloaded from them. They’re most common on sites for downloading something which itself at least frowned upon (software piracy, copyright infringement, porn, game cheats, etc.)