Online shopping, online banking, online employment applications—we all use our computers more and more for transactions that require sensitive information to be entered.
How can you check before entering this personal information such as credit card or Social Security numbers, to make sure that the site is “secure”? While the truth is things can happen even with the most secure of sites, there are things to check to be as safe as possible.
The first clue to look for is in the website address. Does it start with “https://”? If it starts without the “s” it is a good clue that it is not a secured site. Sites are “secured” only after a certificate is issued to the site, which always transforms the site address to one that begins with “https://”.
See the first image attached to this article for an example.
Secondly, somewhere near the Internet address in your Web browser there should be an image of a Pad Lock. This Pad Lock again should be on all secure sites, and clicking on the Pad Lock should give you more information about the sites security.
Make sure that the information in the certificate which you see after clicking the Pad Lock matches the site name and address you see in the browser, see the second image attached to this article for an example.
For your online safety it is recommended to check all three of these areas: the address starting with HTTPS, the Pad Lock, and the information viewed by clicking on the Pad Lock. Individually these items have been faked or “Spoofed” in the past, however there are usually one or the other missing or a clue that something is not right.
Just wanted to provide you a few quick words to help you browse and transact information on the Web safely.