Thankfully, browsers have made it increasingly easy!

Now, in and beside the URL, you can view two things:

  1. Check if the URL has HTTPS or HTTP. If it has HTTP, don’t go to the site. The S stands for secure and means Secure Sockets Layer. URLs with HTTPS ensure data is encrypted before it’s sent to the server.
  2. Check to the left or right of the URL to see if the browser has a lock icon, or says Not Secure. To learn more, click on the icon/message. For example, if it’s Not Secure, it may say something like, “You should not enter any sensitive information on this site (for example, passwords or credit cards), because attackers could steal it.”

Some browsers will even have a pop-up message that warns of the insecure website.

Outside of that, always double-check the URL itself. Cybersquatting is a hacking tactic involving registering a domain name that closely resembles a well-established, trusted website to gain access to users’ information.

A common form of this trend is referred to as typosquatting, where hackers register a domain name that is only 1-2 letters off from the real domain name. For example, they might register, where the extra letter is easy to miss.

Another technique is to register a domain with two letters next to each other that appear to be the one letter in the original domain name. For example, (with an ‘r’ and ‘n’ rather than an ‘m’).  These fake URLs usually lead to fake copies of the website you were originally trying to reach, where hackers are free to steal your login information or infect your computer with viruses.

Additionally, if you happen upon a site infiltrated with ads or popups, your safest bet is to exit immediately. To learn more about malvertising, click here. In general, if it looks sketchy, it very well maybe!

One quick and easy way to avoid entering bad sites is to bookmark the secure websites you frequently visit. Not only will this save you time, but it will also help you avoid clicking on a fake URL!

Here are some additional tips for safe browsing:

  • Keep your browser updated.
  • Block pop-ups.
  • Use an ad-blocker.
  • Enable “Do Not Track” in your browser or apps.
  • Clear your browser cache and cookies.
  • Turn on private browsing (ie, New InPrivate Window on Edge).
  • Use a browser that emphasizes privacy, such as DuckDuckGo or Brave.
  • Use a VPN.

About Partners Plus

Managed IT Services That Do the Work for You

Partners Plus began in 1991 as an outsourced IT department after working as the Director of Programming and a Consultant for six years. For 30+ years now, we have been 100% committed to ensuring small- and medium-sized business owners have the most reliable and professional virtual CIO in the Delaware Valley. Our dedicated team of professionals will solve your IT nightmares quickly and without confusion on your part.

Our customer-specific memberships deliver your needs without overstepping your budget boundaries. From cloud services and data backups to ransomware prevention and Dark Web monitoring, Partners Plus is here to work with you and your expert company, dependable outsourced IT support and security.

Partners Plus has locations and services the following areas:

Managed IT Services in PhiladelphiaManaged IT Services in DelawareManaged IT Services in Malvern