I posted an answer to a question, where a potentially malicious link was part of the answer. I posted the link in code tags, so it would not be directly clickable, requiring user to actively copy it to visit it.

This was edited to hxxp:// to break even direct copying. While I don't in any way mind this edit; it didn't change the value of the answer in any way, it would be nice to hear the consensus of the community.

It was discussed some years ago, and the result at that time seems to be that codyfying the link was ok, as it prevented direct clicks.

This is my view as well; code requires someone top actively copy and paste, not merely click. This ensures that you don't visit the link by accident. Given the context of the site and answers, this should be adequate.

What does the community think about this?

3 Answers 3


This is my personal take:

  • Absolutely do codify the link to prevent accidental clicks. (I have zero fine motor skills and my phone is tiny.)

  • Mask the link if you feel like it, but no harm done if you don't bother.

  • Don't go looking for questions with unmasked links and make unecesary edits to them.

  • If someone does edit your question to mask the link anyway, probably just let it be unless you have strong feelings about it.

Codyfying is important. Masking feels like a non issue. Or at least thats my two cents.


I've seen the hxxp scheme being used a lot in the security community (f.e. when sharing malware/phishing websites on Twitter), so I'm personally used to it.

I also think the replacement is trivial enough to be understood by even the uninitiated visitors.

But I fully agree with Anders's answer: the most important thing to do is prevent anyone to accidentally click such a link. Unlike Twitter, the markup used on the StackExchange network allows us to reach that goal in multiple ways, so feel free to choose the one you prefer.


hxxp is standard for IOCs in public documents from a wide array of sources. Many of these documents are intended for consumption by the security industry, not the general public. If we security experts aren't being trusted not to copy and paste, then I submit the readership of Sec.SE - which ranges from neophyte to expert - might benefit from the hxxp protection as well.

No negativity was intended with the edit. I just saw a bare malicious URL and reacted.

Some examples - ISACs:

Security companies:

InsecurityMajor software companies:

Brian Krebs:

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