How To Tell If a Website Is safe

From shopping online to managing our finances, or just connecting on social, we are completely dependent on websites.

Rather naïvely, we also traded our “trust” for those conveniences. Let me explain how…

We would never buy merchandise in a shady street from the back of a truck.

Yet that’s exactly what we’re doing when we don’t check the security of a website.

We are getting fooled by fake websites that are designed to take our private information and our hard-earned money.

Here’s how you can tell if a website is safe and learn how to protect yourself:

Let’s start at the top of your browser as it holds some clues! The address bar is where you can see the web address. Secure websites have an address that has an “S” at the end of HTTP. The “S” stands for “Secure”. They also have a padlock icon on the browser. So, if you see HTTPS and padlock, the connection is encrypted and secure.

But what about the company behind the website? How do you know it’s not a criminal with a secure connection? Well, a new system makes this easy, modern web browsers display color and company names in the address bar to help you recognize that the site is trustworthy.

It works like this, organizations that depend on security can have their websites reviewed and validated by licensed unbiased companies called Certificate Authorities. This ensures the organization and website are trustworthy and using a secure connection. If the site passes the tests, the Certificate Authority issues an EV SSL certificate and only sites with these certificates displays color in the address bar including the company name along with the address.

Just like traffic signals, colors like red and green denote stop and go, respectively. If green, it means the site is safe. If red, then you should not access that site. This review process means criminals can’t obtain the certificates that are required to display the colorful information on the address bar. So, when you see a site with green info in the address bar, you can be sure that it’s legit.

Now, if you are reading a news or checking the weather, security doesn’t matter much. So, don’t be concerned if there is no HTTPS, padlock, or green bar. Security matters most when you send sensitive information such as credit card info or passwords.

For additional security, you can also use Comodo’s SiteInspector. It’s a free tool that scans malware and monitors blacklisting for websites.

For website owners, you can use cWatch Web to scan and remove malware from your site for free.

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