Staying Safe While Browsing
How To Tell if a Website is Secure
DigiCert.com offers the following advice to check for the security of a website:
- Check the SSL Certificate:
- If URL begins with "https://" instead of "http://" the site is secured using an SSL Certificate.
- SSL Certificates secure data as it moves from the browser to the site's server.
- Companies have to go through a validation process to get SSL Certificates. However, there are different levels of validation, some are easier to get than others.
- Sites with the highest level of validation have a green address bar with a lock icon, indicating the site has an Extended Validation Certificate, the safest and most extensive validation available.
- Check the URL/Domain:
- A common phishing attack involves creating a site that looks just like a legitimate site to trick users into providing sensitive personal or financial information.
- Always look at the URL/domain of the site you're on and verify it matches the intended organization.
- Look for inaccuracies in the site URL/domain.
- Never click a link in an email. Type the domain name into a browser to verify you are going to the intended site.
- Check for these signs to help determine if the company is real or not:
- Physical address and phone number
- Return policy
- Prices are too low to believe
- Privacy statement
Adjust Your Browser Security Settings
Default security settings rarely, if ever, offer the maximum protection for your device. Carefully review the security settings and adjust them to the maximum security possible based on your needs. Turn-off unneeded settings and features, you can always turn them back on temporarily as needed.
How To Detect a Bad Link
- Hover over the link and check to see if the link and the URL in the text match.
- Be cautious with shortened URLs (e.g., Bitly, Owly, etc.).
- Shortened URLs are often used by criminals to hide the real URL.
- Consider available tools to check and/or expand shortened URLs.
Ads are an internet reality. Criminals use attention getting advertisements and article titles to entice you to click. If you see an advertisement or story you'd like to learn more about, search for that product/service/article yourself, so you're more likely to end up where you intended.