Sierra Leone: Today, almost everyone interacts with Websites on a daily basis. Whether it’s posting your status on Facebook, searching Google for information or shopping online we have all come to depend on Websites one way or the other. What most people however don’t know is that it is easy to be fooled by criminals who create fake Websites to steal users’ personal information and money. Knowing how to check the validity and security of a Website and making this a practice can help you protect your personal information and money as you surf the Web and use various Web resources.
Whenever you need to use a Website to access your bank account, make a purchase or provide confidential or sensitive information, there are two major things to consider:
- Your connection to the Website
This connection needs to be secure so that criminals cannot intercept your information while it is on the way (in transit).
- The trustworthiness of the owner of the Website
Although the connection to a website might be secure, the website itself may have been created by a criminal entity and designed to look like a legitimate website you trust.
Secure websites protect information before sending it between computers and devices making the information completely unreadable for criminals who might try to intercept it. Secure websites have the following features:
- The Website address starts with https:// instead of http. The –S is added to indicate the connection is secure. You can find this address in the address bar at the top of any web browser.
- Modern browsers display a padlock icon in the address bar to signify that a website’s connection is secure. On Google Chrome, Firefox and Edge browsers you can find this padlock icon on the left hand side of the address bar. On the old Internet Explorer browser, the padlock icon is on the right hand side. When you click on the padlock, it tells you that the connection is secure (as in the image above). You should also be able to see if the Website has a valid certificate assigned to it by a trusted authority. Criminals don’t normally obtain Website certificates as obtaining one requires due diligence activities conducted by a Certificate Authority.
Please endeavor to check for these next time you use a Website to access your bank account, make a purchase or provide confidential or sensitive information.
Until our next edition, stay safe, stay secure!
By Bintu Jonah