You need to ensure the websites you are going on are safe and secure, to reduce the likelihood of hacks, viruses, and scams. A secure website is one that is completely free from malware and viruses while encrypting its data so that your personal and financial data cannot be compromised. Not all sites, however, are safe. Here’s how you can spot the difference between a website that is up to code and one that is not, and, most importantly, why you need to be checking the security of the websites you are using.
What to Look Out For
Before you enter any personal information, check the URL in the address bar and see whether it starts with ‘https://’. You should only use websites that have the ‘S’ present, as the ‘S’ signifies that the website is using a communications protocol for secure communications. Never enter any sensitive information on a website that only uses HTTP. You should also only use a website that makes use of SSL (Secure Socket Layering), as it can help fight against eavesdropping across servers.
You also need to ensure the website you are on has a padlock in the address bar, as this proves a website’s security features more so than the HTTPS does.
Secure and Verified Badge
Check the bottom of the website you’re on for a badge that marks the site as trustworthy and secure. While scammers could easily recreate the badge, hover over the badge to see if there is a pop-up that should display a legitimate certificate and verification information. If the information does not match up, then the website is likely not secure.
The website should have a detailed ‘contact us’ section, where you can find valid email addresses, phone numbers and social media channels that are active, personal, and look to be run by a real person. You could, of course, contact the site owner to see whether there is a human site to the website. If you phone up and a teenager answers, then you know the website isn’t legitimate.
Websites should explain how your data is collected, what it is collected for, how it is used and what security measures the company have in place so that they can protect your sensitive data. Take your time to read through their policy; if a website is lacking an in-depth analysis, then take your business elsewhere.
Why You Need to Check a Website’s Security
If you are on a website to purchase something, then any personal or bank details you use can be stored and stolen, if not by the company, then by anyone who can hack into their unprotected systems. With your personal details, criminals will be able to access your accounts and either steal your money, identity, or both. Unsecured websites can also infect your laptop or other electronic devices with a virus which could steal your data or hold your data hostage. Ransomware is a problem for businesses of all sizes, as well as everyday people.