Many times you don’t know how vulnerable you can be on the Internet. For that, several tools and extensions have been developed in order to check the security of a website.
In this article, we introduce quick and easy ways to identify the trustworthiness and security of a website. Hopefully, you will understand why these tools are necessary and will be able to use them in the near future. After all, technically all we have online is our information.
- Pop-up messages may be a sign that the web page may have malicious intent.
- Use internal browser tools as well as external tools to ensure your online security.
- Depending on your operating system, you may already be protected right out of the box.
7 essential tips to check your security on websites
On the Internet, the value of every user is their information, this applies for a company looking to position advertising or for a hacker who wants to attack someone. So, we see that your information is worth a lot, you may even wonder what kind of information you provide and how. Also, you may want to be more careful about which websites you visit or give your information to.
1. Why do you want a website to be secure?
In case you found this article without first understanding why you should consider the validity and trustworthiness of every website you visit, let us tell you. Here is a summary of what you should protect in your online interactions.
|Passwords||We all need passwords for our favourite websites or even some that we enter only once. This information is extremely important to you, making it a target for potential “theft” especially if you use the same information for most of your accounts.|
|Personal Information||Like your passwords, you may be comfortable with a trusted company knowing who you are, but that could change if that information could be leaked to organizations for malicious purposes that would no longer be solely online.|
|Telephone Number||Several applications use a security system where they identify you by your phone number, so running you need to be very careful.|
|Credit Cards||Lately, we buy online more frequently, but at the same time, it can be information of greater impact for you if they obtain it.|
|IP address||Your online identifier is like your address, but online, also on certain occasions it works as a confirmation of your identity.|
|Combination of some already mentioned||Many web pages ask for verification with an email or an SMS to your mobile to accept the transaction, whether monetary or legal, with more than one of the aforementioned, you can consider more than just money lost.|
Although the list may seem exhaustive or obvious, it does not cover all the information for simplicity’s sake. What you need to understand at this point is that going to a website is more than just looking at what they offer, it is not just them asking for or seeing different types of information about you (1). Especially when it is the pages that can be targets of hacker attacks.
2. Know the tools that you already have at your disposal
Thanks to the fact that web pages, search engines, and even operating systems see these vulnerabilities as an urgent threat for all their users, they offer tools already included, know them to be able to take advantage of them:
- Operating System: Whether you use Windows or macOS, being the most popular to date, both have tools to protect you online. In the case of Windows, both the included antivirus and Device Guard form a solid barrier against any download you make so that your computer does not get infected by a virus locally (2). On the other hand, macOS does not allow you to download applications that have not been previously checked by Apple itself, thus ensuring the local security of each user (3). Both fail to verify the security of each website since this is the job of the browser you choose to use, at least macOS includes an easy-to-employ password manager.
- Web browser: The main character of your online security, in case you have Chrome or any Chrome-based browser (Opera, Edge, Vivaldi, etc.) confirms with Google’s resources (4). Thus, you know before entering a link if it is safe or not. This way, you trust Google’s database for your online security. On the other hand, if you are a Safari or Firefox user, we recommend you to read their privacy policies and if they include any resources that protect your online information.
- Websites: At the moment you enter a website, most of them will ask you about your cookie preference, and they will show great transparency towards you. At that moment, you can distinguish how much information the company wants to know about you, as well as for what purpose and with whom they will share it (5). You should be alert in case a site does not follow this protocol or does not mention with whom it will share your data.
It is important to enable the use of these tools, as although they may be very basic, they protect a lot of malicious software.
3. Learn about additional tools
Of course, you can’t be completely safe with the basic tools, these only protect your computer with more emphasis on your computer and little on your online activity. To that end, we bring you these extensions that you can add to your browser to add a layer or more of security.
|uBlock Origin||Ad blocker that also works so that websites do not track you for any type of information that they have not necessarily warned you about.||By combining both functionalities, it is as if you had seen the website without giving any type of information.|
|HTTPS Everywhere||It prevents you from entering a web page that does not follow the HTTPS protocol, which is responsible for encoding all your information so that only you and the company in charge of the web can see it.||It is very useful in case of attacks not towards you but towards the web page itself.|
|Blur||Being a paid extension, it covers your information by means of a “mask” which gives temporary information that serves as a bridge between you and the web page.||It is very effective for online shopping and providing account information such as username and password.|
|Unshorten.Link||One of the golden rules of the internet is to see well the link you are about to enter. Considering this, this extension is in charge of showing the complete link of any link so that you can see if it is safe or not.||It is very valuable in strategies where attackers use a web similar to the original.|
See other best website security software.
4. Don’t make these mistakes!
Whether a web page has been attacked or has wilfully malicious intentions for your information or to infect your computer, there are certain things you can identify or not do within those pages to check their security.
Although it may seem obvious, it is better to check the link than to click on it. Often an extra or missing letter can be the difference between entering a secure page or a replica in order to collect your sensitive information (6). Also, you should consider not clicking on any links or buttons within the web page you are on.
Different advertisements can be false advertising or pop-up messages such as “you need to reload the page to make it work better click here” which are clear deceptions with the objective of clicking.
Nowadays, with a good internet speed, it is very likely that you will not notice if you have downloaded something by accident (7). In the same way, when installing a new program, check the location where it is being installed and the plug-ins that are installed.
One of the most common methods of Internet attacks is Phishing, where when you enter your username and password on a website, an attacker receives that information and can impersonate you with that data.
5. Pay attention to these points when entering a web page
In case you visit a website where you have to log in, it is very important that it gives you the possibility to have a two-step authentication service. It is a common practice where the user’s identity is corroborated by means of a code that can be sent to an email or some other form of communication.
6. What are other ways to trust a website?
First of all, most search engines have an indicator in the search bar with a padlock or similar icon, you can quickly see if the site is safe when the padlock or a similar icon is an open or closed padlock. To find out more you can click on it and understand which part or which feature of the website is malicious. Next, it is not normal for web pages nowadays to have pop-up windows the moment you enter the website.
Therefore, a warning sign may be one or more pop-up windows, even if they have relevant information such as login or some other message that may be relevant, it is better not to trust them (9).
In the same way, when you need to download programs or files, verify that they are from the same website where you are viewing, and it is better to verify that you are downloading from the same author or owner of the file and not from third-party sites with several “Download here” buttons. Finally, in the case of mobile or laptops, do not trust in Wi-Fi networks without passwords or public, these can be managed by attackers with malicious intentions (10).
7. More ways to protect yourself on the web
Some may think that extensions and programs already installed on the operating system may be enough and some may not. Therefore, if you want extra layers of security, here are some free and paid tools and resources to help you stay safer online.
|VPN||In English, Virtual Private Network, is a secure way of browsing the internet in which you change your IP address to one generated by the VPN service you are using. This has certain advantages since you can simulate that you are in another country and more. See the best VPN software products.|
|Antivirus||A paid antivirus is much better than current free services, including trial versions of various antiviruses. Even better if you have online protection. See the best antivirus software products.|
|Two-step authentication||As long as you activate this function, you are much more secure than almost any other method, since it is difficult to have more than one user data on the same person. Also, if you think that it is not enough, you can buy a YubiKey, which is a USB that works as an identifier and you would not be depending on some other internet service to use it. See the best authentication software.|
|Password manager||Having so many accounts on different websites and applications, it is normal not to remember all of them. That’s why password managers can save and generate highly secure passwords. Couple it with a two-step authentication factor and it will be more secure. It is also good practice for your passwords to be at least 20 digits long, have at least two numbers, and two symbols, and be both uppercase and lowercase. See the best password management software.|
|Change operating system||In an extreme case, you can consider changing your operating system to an Open Source or Open Source One where you have full control over what happens on your computer. Still, it would be better if you have previous programming knowledge for this change.|
Speaking about search engines
However, we have to mention that changing search engines is another option. The vast majority of browsers are based on Chrome due to the popularity of websites that are optimized for that browser. But, if you spend a couple of hours configuring your preferences, Mozilla’s Firefox would be the best option as far as security is concerned. Chrome and many based on it, have trackers within the browser itself, so your information will always be available to certain companies and therefore to possible attacks.
In conclusion, it never hurts to have extra protection when surfing the Internet. Especially nowadays, where attacks are not only on individuals, but also on large organizations. Therefore, it is important to check the security of a web page and in this article, we show you the essentials of the different tools at your disposal. These can be included on your computer from day one, or they can be paid for.
The easiest way to verify the security of a website is through the browser, checking that the SSL protocol is operational to ensure that your information cannot be intercepted by attackers. Also, there are several tools external to the browser that can make your web experience more pleasant and secure. Take the time to review them all to find the ones that have the most positive impact on your lifestyle.