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Whether it's buying shoes, managing bank accounts or just connecting with friends, most of us depend on websites. Unfortunately, it's easy be fooled by fake websites that are designed to give your money or private information to criminals.
Thankfully, it's now easier to know when a website is secure.
When you need to use a website to make a purchase or provide sensitive information, there are two big things to think about:
The first is the connection from your computer to the company's computer. Your name, credit card information and other things have to travel from one to the other. This connection needs to be secure. so that criminals can't access the information in route.
The second is knowing that you're working with a company you trust. If you're working with a company you trust using a secure connection, your information is safe. But how do you know?
Knowing what to look for in a browser is a big step to using secure websites. Let’s consider the connection we mentioned earlier.
Secure websites encrypt information before sending it between computers. this makes the information completely unreadable for criminals. Only the computer on the other end can read it, making it secure.
There are two big ways to tell the connection is secure…First is the address bar, where you’re used to seeing "http". Secure websites have an address that starts http"s" for secure.
You can also look for a padlock icon in the browser. If you see the "s" and padlock the connection is encrypted and secure.
But what about the organization behind the website? - how do we know it's not a criminal with a secure connection? Well, a new system makes this easy. Newer web browsers display color and company names in the address bar that help you know 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.
These rigorous reviews ensure the organization and website are trustworthy and using a secure connection. If the tests are passed, the site is issued an EV SSL certificate. and only sites with these certificates display the colored bar, including the company name, along with the address.
Green means Go, red means stop.
This review process means criminals can’t obtain the certificate that's required to display the colorful information. So when you see a site with the green info in the address bar, you can be sure it's legit.
Now, if you're reading the news or checking the weather, security doesn't matter as much, so don't be concerned if you don't see the green bar or security information. Security matters when you send sensitive information like credit card numbers, passwords and private info over the Internet.
For instance, if you're about to make a purchase, your browser holds the clues. Look for the "s" in the address and the padlock to make sure it's secure. And if you’re concerned that the site could be a scam, look for the green information.
With these things in place, you can feel confident that your information is safe and secure.
What it teaches
These days websites make security a priority, but it is hard to know when a website is secure, or what makes it so. This video teaches the basics of website security and how to recognize a secure site.
- An overview of the most common security threats
- How SSL encryption works
- How to recognize a secure connection
- In which situations security is most important