I want to buy online, but how do I know a website is secure?

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? To have a fully secure website, it needs to be virus, malware free and encrypted to protect your information. This includes all of your personal, financial and medical information.

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. We hope these will help you decide if the website you’re using is safe for use:

Https://

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.

Lock icon

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’. This 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.

Secure Badge

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.

Privacy policy

All websites should have a privacy policy that contains information on how that particular website collects your data, how it is then used, and what security measures they have in place to make sure that all of your private information is safe and secure. If you notice that a website doesn’t have a privacy policy in place, we would recommend going elsewhere to a company that does.

It should be a websites responsibility to ensure that your data is safe. However, it’s important to be a bit tech savvy. Also, know the red herrings to look out for when sharing your information online.

Made In Scotland can help you create a secure website. Get in touch with our team for more information!

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