Do you know if websites you are visiting are secure?
Do you know how to tell? Online stores usually have graphics that show they are secure when you checkout. There is more to internet security than protecting credit card numbers though.
Why Should I Care?
Websites without proper security in place pose a risk to you when you go to their site. Exposure to viruses, malware, and tracking software is more prevalent on sites without proper security. Personal information such as email addresses, passwords, phone numbers, addresses and more can be collected without you knowing.
How Can I Be Sure?
The easiest way to keep you secure when you are browsing the web is to look for a padlock symbol. Depending on your web browser (Google Chrome, Safari, Microsoft Edge, Firefox) it may appear a little differently, but the meaning is the same. It means there is an SSL certificate installed on the website. This is an electronic document that tells the web browser and the website that they can trust one another. With this installed, information can be sent safely back and forth between you and the website.
Making sure a website is secure is especially important if there is sensitive information such as credit card numbers, personally identifiable information, or pictures. However, there are still vulnerabilities present even if that type of information is not being transmitted. As the website transmits information to your browser, a potential hacker could transmit information along with it. This could be a virus, malware, or spyware which could potentially still give them information that can identify you.
To be safe, keep an eye on the padlock of sites you visit. If it doesn’t show secure, then it might be a website you need to reconsider visiting. If it is secure, then you can rest easy.