There are many signs and ways that can help you check if a website is safe. What you should always bear in mind is that you can’t be too careful about Internet security and privacy. Today we are going to introduce you three easy ways to avoid phishing websites.
Does the site use HTTPS?
In most cases, users check for HTTPS to determine whether a website is safe to browse.
HTTP is the basic protocol for sending data between your web browser and the websites you visit. When you pay a visit to a website via a browser, an HTTP request is sent to the specific port on the server. Then, the server responses to your request. However, it doesn’t encrypt the traffic between you and the websites so that all data is transferred in plaintext.
A website that has an “HTTPS” tag is usually more secure. The “S” indicates that the website is well encrypted by an SSL certificate which is a security certificate for a website.
Note: not all pages on the same website are encrypted via HTTPS. You should check for HTTPS each time you open a new page, especially when you are going to enter confidential information, such as bank details. Always check whether there is an “S” after HTTP. This will reduce the risks of being a victim to data breaches.
Check the URL
Generally, when we browse a website, we can also check the URL of the website to determine whether a website is safe or not.
You should verify a URL before you visit the website. Hackers often use visually similar characters to fool you into visiting their phishing sites and involuntarily giving them your passwords, credit card numbers, and other private data. Make sure the URLs are spelled correctly. There are cases when a fraudster uses intentionally misspelled URLs to steal a user’s credit card information.
Sometimes, it is even impossible to distinguish a phishing site from the right one only via your eyes. According to a researcher called Xudong Zheng, some countries or regions use “local languages” in their domain names, such as Russia and Bulgaria. Many browsers use Punycode to translate these “local languages” into characters that are readable to the DNS servers. Although you can’t see the difference in their URLs, the computer thinks they are different.
Therefore, we kindly recommend that you manually enter the URL when you want to visit some essential websites. DO NOT click on the hyperlink directly because it may bring you to a fake website that looks exactly the same as the one you are familiar with. Before clicking on the hyperlink, you can also hover your mouse on it to show the URL on the bottom-left corner of the browser. For example, Google and Firefox.
Google Safe Browsing
In addition to common methods of checking the security of a website, Google Safe Browsing is also good at preventing you from visiting phishing sites. Google Safe Browsing is available in Google products and provides a more secure browsing experience on the Internet. Once you turn it on, you will be warned of malicious websites that are included in the list of Google.
Here’s how to turn on Google Safe Browsing in Chrome:
- Open Google Chrome on your desktop.
- Tap the menu icon on the top-left corner of Chrome.
- Tap “Settings”.
- Tap “People”.
- Tap “Sync and Google services”.
- Scroll down to “Safe Browsing”.