by Haris Quintana

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Image Credit: Pexels

While it is the website owner's responsibility to make sure their website is safe, this doesn't always happen, and unfortunately, some sites aren't secure, and if this is the case, it can spread malware, steal your information, and send spam. So, to protect yourself and your personal information, it's essential to know that a website takes your safety seriously. Alternatively, if you have your site, then you can check if yours is secure by using an online vulnerability scanner for website security, learn more here. Otherwise, follow these easy steps for checking if a website is secure. 

Look for the "S" in HTTPS

HTTPS should sound familiar to you as many URLs begin with this. If they start with "https" rather than just "HTTP," this indicates that they are encrypted. The S means that it is secure as it has an SSL certificate, which protects any sensitive information that is entered into that site as it travels from the site to a server. If a website does not have an SSL certificate, then that information is exposed and easily accessible by cybercriminals. 

Check for a website privacy policy

A website's privacy policy should communicate how your data is collected, used, and protected by the website.  Nearly all sites will have one, as data privacy laws require them. A Privacy policy shows you that a website owner knows what they're doing and they care about complying with laws. It shows that they are keen to ensure that their website is safe, so be sure to look for a privacy policy, and read it over, before giving your information to a website.

Find their contact information

A survey of website visitors found that 44 percent of respondents will leave a website that lacks a phone number or other contact information. Ideally, a safe website will display an email address, a phone number, a physical address if they have one, return policy if applicable, and social media accounts as they indicate that there's likely someone you can reach out to if you need assistance.

Know the signs of website malware

Even if a site has a privacy policy and contact information, it may still not be safe if it is infected with malware. Signs of common attacks include defacements to websites, suspicious pop-ups; malvertising which are ads which typically appear unprofessional, contain spelling/grammar errors, promote "miracle" cures or celebrity scandals, 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, and malicious redirects are if you are redirected to another site – especially one that looks suspicious. These are often used in conjunction with phishing kits.

It's unfortunate that not every website is trustworthy and secure, but don't let that keep you from going online – do it safely! Merely being able to recognize a safe website can go a long way to help protect your data.