Your browser offers several clues to the safety and security of any website visit during a browsing session. Examine the browser’s address bar to determine the website’s relative security:
● If there is a “lock” image, it implies relative security via an encrypted data link. If no lock image, it might specify (or imply) “not secure” or dangerous. Clicking on the lock will bring up a pop-up with details about the site’s certification, including ownership and encryption status of the site’s contents.
● If there is a company name after the lock, it means that the website has received “extended validation” or EV, providing stronger evidence of safety and security; essentially, the ownership of the website has been concretely identified through a trusted authority via the EV certificate. Even then, this identity verification just means that website belongs to the company it claims to belong to. It doesn’t necessarily mean the company itself or its software is trustworthy.
● The https:// in front of the website address implies encrypted, secure transmission, typically employing TLS (Transport Layer Security) encryption. The common http:// isn’t encrypted and is Not Secure (as some browsers will explicitly state on the address bar). With HTTPS, a cryptographic key exchange occurs when you first connect to the website. All subsequent actions on the website are encrypted, and thus hidden from prying eyes. Anyone watching can see that you have visited a certain website, but cannot see which individual pages you read, or any data transferred.
FOR FURTHER READING:
CyberGuardian: a SecureTheVillage Guide for Residents is available on Amazon.
A complete Security Checklist is available: https://www.nerdsiview.com/security-checklist-2/
References for Village Residents are available at SECURE THE VILLAGE: https://securethevillage.org/residents