There is no doubt that digital technology has become central to society in the modern age. A major part of this is how important the internet is to how we live now. Whether it is playing games for fun at an online casino, shopping for clothes at online stores, or using cloud-based systems at work, the internet allows us to function effectively in daily life. One thing to bear in mind when going about your business online, however, is how crucial it is to use secure websites.
Websites are key to how the internet functions as they are where we find products or services to access online. They are also how internet search engines find things that we may be interested in, based on what terms we search for. Some, however, may not be all they seem and instead be set up purely to scam you out of money or your personal details. With an estimated $2.9m per minute being lost to cybercrime every day, this is not something to take lightly.
With this in mind, it is worth knowing how to spot a secure site that you can then use with confidence. As more and more online security threats emerge each year, this is truly vital. What should you take into account?
Look carefully at the URL
The URL of any website is simply the name you type into your browser to access it. While this may not seem like it would tell you much, it is actually the first thing to look at when deciding how safe a site is to use. You ideally want to use sites that have ‘https’ at the start of the URL, rather than just ‘http.’ This is because the ‘s’ on the end of https indicates that the site is encrypted. HTTPS sites use advanced SSL tech to protect your data when it travels between the website and server. Without this sort of protection in place, these sensitive details are much easier to steal for online criminals.
Easy-to-find contact information
It is unlikely that a scam site will provide contact details as they will not want to risk being found and certainly have no interest in customer service. One other thing to look out for here is that there are at least a couple of ways to get in touch, such as live chat, email, social media, phone or post. If all that is listed is one mobile phone number, then you might want to think twice as this could be an unregistered pay-as-you-go handset that is not used.
Check for padlock symbol when paying
One classic sign of a secure site is the padlock symbol that should show up next to your browser’s address bar when making payments online. If this symbol is not there when paying for goods on a site, then do not carry on! All decent sites will have these trust seals in place that guarantee that the platform you are paying via is safe to use. It is also worth clicking on the padlock symbol before paying just to make sure that it is real and valid. Some sophisticated scammers will simply put up the padlock symbol on a site to fool you – make sure to check that it is genuine as this is the sign of a good website.
Trust your gut instinct
While there is no need to stop using the internet or panic about cybercrime, it is key to always make sure that any website you use is safe. As well as the above tips, this can be as simple as trusting your gut instinct. If you go onto a site that is poorly designed and badly laid out, then this should also be something to think about. By staying on guard like this, it means that you can get the most from the internet with complete peace of mind.