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Top 7 ways to confirm if a website is safe or not

Do you remember the last time you went to the bank to transfer money to someone or the telecom operator’s office to pay a bill? You don’t; it’s because you do these works over the internet.

It’s fast and convenient; you can do this work anytime. However, hackers and miscreants are always on the hunt to steal data and breach our privacy.

According to a Statista report, incidents of data breaches in the healthcare sector in the United States have grown significantly between 2005 and 2021. It has posed a massive security threat to Internet users.

You must ensure if a website is safe or not. However, it is not easy to determine that. How can you be assured that a website is secure or not? In this post, we will enumerate how to ensure the legitimacy of a website

Let’s get started.

How to check if a website is safe or not

1. Check if the website has a valid Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate

A legit website should have an SSL certificates and install it to protect its users’ data. A site developer can purchase SSL certificate on the web and get higher discounts from many SSL providers.

Do you know how to determine if a site has an SSL? Look at the URL and see if it has HTTPS in the URL. Even once you click on the padlock, you can check the name of the certificate from branded authorities like Sectigo SSL certificate, DigiCert SSL certificate, GlobalSign SSL certificate.

A website with HTTPS has a certificate, which means the information you provide on a site is passed through a secure connection from the browser to the website server.

An SSL certificate enables a website to encrypt the information, and no third party can view that. If you are shopping on a website or providing any personal, credit, or debit card details, you must ensure the website has an SSL certificate.

2. Install anti-virus software on your computer

Using an anti-virus is an effective way to determine if a website is safe or not. An anti-virus can identify a security threat and alerts you; it also blocks unsecured websites to ensure the safety of your computer and sensitive details.

If a website does not have an SSL certificate or the validity of the certificate has expired, the anti-virus will show a warning. 

However, choosing the right solution is essential.

There are hundreds of companies providing antivirus software solutions these days, and not every anti-virus is reliable. Doing some research on the brand’s reputation will help you choose the right anti-malware service provider.

3. Read the privacy policy

Every legit website has a privacy policy that helps you know how the website will use and protect your data. Privacy policies have detailed information and it may take a few minutes to read them.

Most users don’t bother to look at that before providing any information on a website as they are in a hurry. However, avoiding that can be risky as it can compromise your privacy and security.

It is wise to take some time and read the privacy policy of an organization before you provide any information on the website. You will find the link to privacy policies on the home page of most websites. Some sites have it under the menu.

4. Double-check the security seals

Security seals are a great way to confirm if a website is safe or not; many organizations display that to earn the user’s trust.

However, they can be fake in some cases. Websites involved in fraudulent activities may create counterfeit security seals to fool the users.

How can you identify that? The best way to confirm the authenticity of the seal is by clicking on it and seeing if it redirects you to the company’s website that has issued the seal. Check if you can find additional information about it.

Remember the fake security stamps won’t take you to the website of the provider. You should do some more research to ensure if the stamps really exist.

5. Verify ownership

Verifying the ownership is another way to confirm a legit website. Many people think it is hard, but it’s actually much simpler than you may think. The WHOIS Lookup tool helps you find if a website is safe or not.

It allows you to find the name of the individual or entity that owns the website. Enter the website domain name or IP address, and you can see the details of the website you are trying to access.

If there are no details, it is a sign of concern, and it’s better to avoid that website and look for an alternative. If you get redirected to that website, exit it at the earliest.

6. Check the contact information and physical address

Checking the contact details can help you find if a website is safe or not. Fake websites usually don’t provide contact details like phone numbers, email addresses, or physical addresses.

You must have noticed that every website has a “Contact us” link on the homepage. Click on that to find the contact details and the mailing address. Before engaging with a website, it is wise to check those details and confirm the organization exists.

7. Verify the website URL

Knowing that users don’t pay much attention to the URL, cyber criminals create fake websites that look like the original website of an organization you are trying to access. They either add or remove a character or mistype it to fool the visitors.

For example, a malicious website can use Zero in place of “o” or I in place of “l”. Such mistakes are common, and many people lose a significant amount of money or share their sensitive details unknowingly. Pay attention and double-check the URL before you access any website.

Stay alert

The Internet has become an indispensable part of our daily life, and we can’t stay away from it. However, you should not be careless while you are online. A mistake can cost you dearly.

Staying alert can help you protect your privacy and secure your information while using the Internet. Follow the above tips to confirm if a website is safe or not, and it will significantly reduce the threat.

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