Most of us enjoy the convenience of shopping online because of a faster transaction and easy process. In the US, in 2014 it was recorded that an estimate of $61 billion was spent on online shopping. With this numbers, many personal information such as phone numbers, address and credit card information were flying around the internet. Such personal data translate many dollars to cyber thieves. Therefore, before giving any information and confirming any online transaction using your credit card, do not forget to check if the website is reliable and safe.
In order to determine if site is secured, the website URL always begins with https (hypertext transfer protocol secure) and has a padlock icon which can be seen at the bar or at the bottom of the website.
The https shows that the site is safe and security is in force.
The padlock icon signifies that the web page uses SSL (Secure Socket Layer) or TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocol. SSL or TLS are cryptographic protocol that administers communications security over a computer network.
The padlock icon implies that all information and banking details are protected. The presence of such icon implicates that traffic to and from the page is encrypted. Encryption is the process of securing data by converting sensitive information into codes. This is done to prevent unauthorized access. Encryption blocks important data from being read by other individual who has the intention of stealing and taking advantage of such information.
The text in the URL must be preceded by a padlock icon. If the padlock icon is missing, the site is most likely fraudulent and must be treated with caution.
The padlock icon may be green or grey in color. A green padlock proves that you are connected to a site whose address is displayed in the address bar and such connection is not intercepted. It also signifies that the website is using EV (Extended Validation) certificate. Such certificate is a special site certificate that demands a significantly more meticulous identity verification procedure than other types of certificates.
The grey padlock indicates that the website is secured but such site did not an Extended Validation SSL certificate.
The padlock icon is not just an icon. You can click on it to see the website’s security details. Clicking on the icon is important because some fraudulent sites are built with a fake bar with a bogus padlock icon located at the bottom of the web page. It is advised to always check the functionality of the lock icon.
It is very important to check the browser’s help file. You can always contact the makers of the browser software if you are uncertain of its functions.
For you to stay safe online while making that purchase, it is advised to use familiar websites. Search for a trusted site and famous retail online shops. Beware of misspelled words or sites because scammers use different domains.
Always look for the padlock icon. Never buy anything online from a website that does not have SSL encryption installed. And never give anyone your credit card or bank information over email or private messages online.