How To Know If a Website Is Secure

How-To Guides

How To Know If a Website Is Secure

In 2012 the US and EU spent just under £500 billion on online shopping.
Over 1 billion people log on to Facebook each month and share information.
The average British worker send and receives 10,000 emails each year.

We send and store so much information online every day that sometimes we take for granted how sensitive a lot of it is. It can seem like every website you visit wants your details, but how can we know for sure that they’ll protect it properly and we don’t end up a victim of fraud?

One easy way to make sure a website is secure enough that you can trust it with your information is to check the address in the bar a the top:


certificateThe little ‘s’ that follows http in a URL stands for secure. It means that the website has the right security certificates, which are only given to website that have been verified as secure.

You can read more information about the certificate by clicking on the padlock icon (we’ve demonstrated it in Chrome but most browsers operate in a similar fashion – look for the padlock).

The important thing to remember is that if you’re on a website that’s asking you for a password, and especially if it’s asking for your bank or credit card details, and it’s not showing ‘https’ – steer clear!

But why is this so important if you recognise the website? Surely if you know the site and it’s asking you to log in you’re fine?

One day a friend sends you an email with a link to a photo on Facebook – his dog was just wearing sunglasses; adorable. You click on the link and you’re asked to sign in:


Looks like Facebook. But notice anything off about that page? 10 points if you noticed the incorrect URL. If you didn’t, and you also didn’t notice that it wasn’t a secure site, and you logged in, you’d be handing your email address and password to a sneaky person who wants to exploit your account. This is ‘phishing’ – the act of stealing people’s login details (or bank details) by posing as a real website.

It’s so important to pay attention when wandering around the internet since it’s hard to trust your eyes sometimes. But you can fend off fraud and phishing by following these two steps:

1) Check the URL carefully
2) Check for the secure site (https)