I’m sure that we have all been on a website before that has a badge with “trusted” written on it at the bottom of the screen. But, what does that badge actually mean? For a website to be truly secured, it needs to be virus and malware free and encrypted so that it protects all of your personal, financial and medical information from being stolen.
Unfortunately, not every website you will encounter is secure even if it has the ‘safe and secure’ badge; it may not be legitimate or it may have simply been copied from elsewhere. So, to help you be safer online, we have drafted up some tell-tale signs that will help you decide if the website you’re using is safe for use:
If you find yourself on a website that requires you to type in any personal information and/or credit card details then always look in the address bar at the top for HTTPS, with the S being the most important letter. HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure and it is a communications protocol which is used for secure communication. If you don’t see HTTPS in your address bar, don’t enter any personal information as the page won’t be secure.
Encryption is the act of translating information into a secret code, making it nearly impossible to decipher without the correct password. Most browsers out there already have a built-in encryption detection. Again, looking at the URL, a safe website will have a secure lock icon before the ‘https’ which will let you know if the website is safe or not.
By clicking on the padlock, your browser will tell you if there is a secure connection and if your personal data, such as passwords or credit card numbers, are safe. From this drop-down bar, you can also look at website permissions, the security certificate and information on default settings.
As we mentioned before, a sign of a website being safe is a ‘Secure and Verified’ badge at the bottom of the page, or some slight variation of that. The best way to check if the badge is real is by simply clicking on it. A legitimate badge will pop up and display information about the certificate and information about verification. Have a look at these details and make sure that they do in fact match up with the website you are viewing. If the information doesn’t match, or alternatively if the ‘Secured and Verified’ is simply a picture placed on the bottom of the screen, then the site is most likely not secure and potentially dangerous.
It should be a websites responsibility to ensure that your data is safe, but it’s also important to be a bit tech savvy and know the red herrings to look out for when sharing your information online.