A lot of people often wonder how safe websites are. Some may look a bit sketchy, others such as streaming sites may give you viruses and some eCommerce stores might steal your credit card details and not deliver on their promise.
It’s important to be cautious when browsing the web and it’s absolutely vital to check that a website is safe before sharing any personal information. In this post, we’ll share how to check legitimacy and security of websites and how you can make sure you stay safe at all times.
How do I verify a website is legitimate?
There are a number of ways you can verify a website’s legitimacy. We’re going to start with the most obvious one being WoT. The global WoT community rate and review sites every single day in order to make the internet a safer place. Once you download WoT or install it on Android or iOS for your mobile, you’ll be able to see which sites are safe and legitimate and which ones are not. To start using WoT today, click here.
Another option is to look at the website’s connection type. A website that has an “https” tag is usually more secure and therefore more trustworthy than sites that use the more common “http” This is because “https” sites’ security certification is a process most illegitimate sites don’t bother with.
How can you tell that a website is secure?
While WoT is our community’s main ‘go to’ to check a website’s security status, there are some other options alongside this you can check in order to further make sure that everything is secure.
You can also check for their contact information. A recent survey found that 44% of people will leave a website that doesn’t have contact information. Ideally, a safe website will display a way of getting in touch with them and links to their social media profiles. These things won’t necessarily protect you but do show that they are available to reach if necessary giving the user more peace of mind.
In order to make sure that a website is not infected, make sure to look out for the following;
WoT Warnings. Look out for the colored donuts that WoT provides on certain websites to give you the initial website security check.
Defacements. This attack is easily spotted: cybercriminals replace a site’s content with their name, logo, and/or ideological imagery.
Suspicious pop ups. Be cautious of pop ups that make outlandish claims – they are likely trying to entice you to click and accidentally download malware.
Malvertising. Some malicious ads are easy to catch. They typically appear unprofessional, contain spelling/grammar errors, promote “miracle” cures or celebrity scandals, or feature products that don’t match your browsing history. It’s important to note that legitimate ads can also be injected with malware, so exercise caution when clicking.
Phishing kits. Phishing kits are websites that imitate commonly visited sites, like banking websites, in order to trick users into handing over sensitive information. They may appear legitimate, but spelling and grammar errors will give them away.
SEO spam. The appearance of unusual links on a site, often in the comments section, is a sure sign of SEO spam.
How do I check if a link is safe?
We all have been on the receiving end of a dodgy looking email that contains links we’re unsure of. Are they safe? Will they give me a virus? And sadly, even the best security software can’t protect you from the headaches you’ll encounter if you click an unsafe link.
Unsafe links often appear to be shortcuts to funny videos, shocking news stories, shopping deals, or “Like” buttons, but are really designed to steal your personal information or hijack your computer. Your friends can unknowingly pass on unsafe links in emails, Facebook posts, and instant messages. You’ll also encounter unsafe links in website ads and search results.
In order to prevent this from happening, one tip would be to hover over the link. Sometimes a link masks the website to which it links. If you hover over a link without clicking it, you’ll notice the full URL of the link’s destination in a lower corner of your browser that should give you a clearer understanding of where clicking the link will take you and may show obvious spelling errors or wrong names if it’s untrustworthy.
It’s unfortunate that today, not every website is trustworthy and secure, but don’t let that keep you from going online – just do it safely! Simply being able to recognize a safe website can go a long way to help protect your personal data. For more on protecting your information online and making sure you browse the internet safely, check out WoT.