There are many signs and ways for you to check if a website is safe. What you should always remember is that you can not be too careful about cyber security and privacy. In this article, we will teach you three easy ways to prevent phishing websites.
Does the website use HTTPS?
Users often verify the safety of a site by checking whether it uses HTTPS.
HTTP is the basic protocol for sending data between your web browser and the websites you visit. When you visit a website through a browser, an HTTP request is sent to the appropriate port on the server. Then, the server responds to your request. However, the traffic between you and the sites is not encrypted, so all data is transmitted in cleartext.
A website with an “HTTPS” tag is usually safer. The “S” indicates that the website is well encrypted by an SSL certificate, which is a security certificate for a website.
Note: some pages on the same website may not be encrypted by HTTPS. You should look for HTTPS each time you open a new page, especially before you enter sensitive information, such as credit card information and passwords. Always check if there is an “S” after HTTP will reduce the risk of becoming a victim of data breaches.
Check the URL
In general, when browsing a website, we can also check the URL of the website to see if a website is safe or not.
You should check the URL before visiting a website. Hackers often use visually similar characters to trick you into visiting their phishing sites and involuntarily filling your passwords, credit card numbers, and other private information. So, you should make sure that the URLs are spelled correctly. There are chances that a scammer intentionally uses misspelled URLs to steal all your credit card information or compromise your privacy.
However, some phishing sites are almost impossible to be distinguished from the right one only through your eyes. According to a researcher named 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 not see the difference in their URLs, the computer thinks they are different.
For this reason, we recommend that you enter the URL manually if you want to visit some important websites. DO NOT click directly on the hyperlink, otherwise, you will end up with a fake website that looks exactly like the one you know. Before you click on the hyperlink, you can also hover over it with your mouse to display the URL in the lower-left corner of the browser (Google and Firefox).
Google Safe Browsing
In addition to the usual ways to verify website security, Google Safe Browsing also prevents you from visiting phishing sites. Google Safe Browsing is available on Google products for a safer Internet browsing experience. Once you enable it, it will warn you of malicious websites that are included in Google’s list.
Do the following steps to enable Google Safe Browsing in Chrome:
- Open Google Chrome on your desktop.
- Tap the menu icon in the upper left corner of Chrome.
- Click on “Settings”.
- Click on “ People”.
- Click on “Sync and Google services”.
- Go to “Safe browsing”.