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Key online security points to consider in 2013

Created: 07 Mar 2013 • Translations available: Français, Deutsch
Jimmy Edge's picture
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Online threats have become a fact of life for people who regularly use the internet. However, rather than worrying about it or waiting for potentially important details to be compromised, there a number of key points which you can consider to counter any possible threat.

Pondering the important issues and putting the right structures in place can go a long way towards making sure that you are sufficiently set up to deal with a number of threats.

Cyber criminals are constantly coming up with new and inventive ways to fool us into parting with our cash or handing over our details online.

New web threats

There was a time, not so long ago, when you could spot a malicious website a mile away. Something would always give it away, whether it was a suspicious domain name, strange wording or poor usability.

These days, the cyber criminals have become a lot savvier – and a lot more dangerous. The majority of malicious websites out there now, some 61%, are regular websites which have been compromised.*

Any website has the potential to be compromised by malware, especially if its web security was poor to begin with.

Putting your faith in a website?

The most paranoid of web users will probably treat every website they come across with an air of suspicion; even the most well-known and most widely used sites out there.

A little paranoia online can certainly come in handy but there are ways to tell if your suspicions are justified or completely unfounded.

This is generally done by checking to see if a website has an SSL certificate. Short for Secure Sockets Layer, this is a form of web protocol that protects and secures a website.

Before you enter any kind of information or personal details on a website, it’s vital to check whether it has an SSL certificate – but how do you do this?

How to check for an SSL certificate

There are two ways to check whether a website has an SSL certificate. Firstly, if a website’s URL begins with ‘https’ rather than the usual ‘http’, you can trust that it’s secure.

Secondly, a more common and obvious way of checking is to look for the padlock symbol or green bar at the start of the address bar. This isn’t just a picture to let you know a website is secure; clicking on the symbol will provide details of the site’s security, including which web security firm provides the protection.

If nothing happens when you click on the padlock, leave the website as it’s probably fraudsters trying to fool you into thinking the site’s secure when it isn’t.

Still feeling a little paranoid? Visit the CA/Browser Forum to see which security companies are implementing extended verification SSL certificates – a more rigorous security validation process designed to further combat phishing and malware.

*Statistics taken from Norton Safe Web data