Article read time - 5 minutes

Website owners need to ensure the safety of people who visit their websites. While some websites take all safety measures and make sure their visitors have a safe browsing experience. Some websites are not secure enough. Such unsafe websites could steal your information, due to which you could become a victim of cybersecurity threats. Such websites also spread malware. To prevent yourself from becoming a victim of online threats, you will need to make sure the website you are visiting is safe to browse and make transactions.

From buying groceries to paying your bills, you can do everything online with just the click of a button. But not all such transactions are safe. There are some criminals out there who try to steal your personal information. They also steal your money by tracking your monetary transactions.

Scammers set up fake websites that look more like genuine banking websites and trick you into providing your banking information. To avoid all this, you have to ensure you visit your bank’s website that it is secured. But how can you figure out if the website you visit takes your privacy and safety seriously? Here are a few signs that indicate the website you visit is safe.

SSL Certificate

Whenever you visit a website, look for “HTTPS” in the URL. The presence of an SSL certificate indicates that the website you are visiting is safe to browse and make transactions on. You have to make sure the URL of the website you are visiting starts with “HTTPS.” If yes, then the website is secure with an SSL certificate. This way, you can be assured that the data you send will travel through an encrypted tunnel from your browser to the server of the website you are visiting, thereby keeping your data safe and secure. SSL certificates protect sensitive information that is sent to the website’s server. If an SSL certificate does not secure the website, the information you send will not be encrypted, and hackers and cybercriminals can easily access your personal information. Make it a habit to check whether the website’s URL starts with “HTTPS” whenever you make a transaction or provide personal information or generally browse the web.

ssl store

Website Privacy Policy

Almost all websites have privacy policies. If the website you visited does not look legitimate, you can look for the website’s privacy policy. The website’s privacy policy will indicate what steps the respective website is taking to protect its visitors’ private data. It will have info on the data that the website will share with any third-party and the data that will remain private. You can find the link to the website’s privacy at the bottom of the site’s homepage. Alternatively, you can also type privacy policy in the search bar and find the website’s privacy policy. It is recommended to check out the website’s privacy policy before sharing your personal data to ensure your data remains safe and secure. Legitimate websites have a privacy policy, and checking the site’s privacy policy will take just seconds before giving your personal information.

Trust Seal

Like “HTTPS,” there are certain other visual trust indicators that will help you determine whether or not the website is legitimate. You will see trust seals on websites that are secured with an SSL certificate. You will see trust seals with terms like “Verified” or “Secure.” These seals are provided by the Certificate Authorities that issue SSL certificates. Certificate authorities like Sectigo, GeoTrust, etc., provide trust seals displayed on the website indicating that the site is secure for safe transactions. You can click on the site seal to know more details about the website’s SSL certificate and ensure it is legitimate. However, some seals may be static that will not be clickable, and they indicate that the site has security.

Check the Website’s URL

Scammers create fraudulent websites that look just like the real website. Though the URL may “look” like the real website, they cannot duplicate the URL. So when you are about to make a transaction on a website, you can check the website’s URL to make sure you visit the original website and not the fake website. Many fall prey to such fraudulent websites as they fail to check the website’s URL before they make a transaction. You might come across websites with URLs that have digits instead of letters. You can easily make out such websites.

Website Contact Information

Websites that value their visitors and want you to do business with them will have their contact information. Contact information includes phone numbers, email addresses, and even their physical address, if any. You will not find any such information on a fake website. This is a big red flag. If not, you might find information that is totally irrelevant to the company. For example, an American based company might have an address and phone number of a foreign country. If you see something like that, do not trust the site, and make any transaction, it could most likely be a scam.

Website Design and Style

You can make out whether a website is legitimate or not by looking at its design and style. Most websites that look to gain users’ trust take steps to build their brand by using color schemes, logos, and slogans. This may not be the case with fake websites that only look like the legitimate ones. Such websites duplicate the original ones and will only be slightly different from the original website. You will come across typos, broken links, and plagiarized content. Such things indicate that the site is fishy. To protect yourself and your data, all you can do is type in the URL of the site you wish to visit with HTTPS and visit the legitimate site.

Check Who Owns the Domain

There is a way to lookup who owns a domain. You can use Whois Lookup to research a specific domain. This way, you can find and verify who the owner of the domain is. Whois domain information will have the name of the organization or person who owns the domain and the contact information. This will help you determine whether the website you are visiting is legitimate or not. You can compare this information with the information on the website to see if both match. If not, the website may not be legitimate, and it could be a fake site run by fraudsters.

With many online scammers and hackers trying to scam people online through fake websites, it is important to be aware of the cybersecurity threats and take the required steps to stay away from such threats online. Now that you know how to check whether a website is secure, here are a few tips on keeping yourself and your data safe.

Steps to Protect Yourself if You Land on a Spammy Website

Some websites will have a lot of warnings and pop-ups. If you witness pop-ups when you visit a website, the best thing you can do to keep your data safe is to immediately close the site.
Malicious redirects are something you need to be aware of. If you are redirected from the website you initially visited another website, it could most likely be a malicious redirect. This means the original site you visited is not a legitimate website. It could also mean that the original website you visited has been hacked. Though the original site might not be a fake one, it could have been attacked by hackers who have injected malicious code. If you are redirected to a different website, you must immediately close the site.
If you see search engine warnings like “This site might be hacked, Visiting this site may be harmful to your computer, The website has been reported unsafe, Phishing attack ahead,” etc., it is a good idea to navigate away from that website.

Summary

Not every website is secure, so it is important to know how to recognize whether the website you are visiting is safe to make transactions. If you happen to land on a website that looks spammy, you have to take the required precautions to make sure you do not become a victim of cybersecurity threats, which will, in turn, help you protect your personal data.

Author Bio:

Kalpesh Patel is an experienced Software Consultant with extensive experience in the security industry. Skilled in Data Analytics, PKI, Code Signing, and Software Development.

Leave a Reply
Comment policy: We value comments and the time that visitors to our blog spend to give feedback. Please note that all comments are manually moderated and any deemed to be spam or promotional will be deleted.