There is no foolproof way of determining whether a website you’re visiting is 100% secure, but there are some simple ways you can quickly assess whether the page you’re on is likely to pose a risk.
Below we’re going to take a look at these methods – each, on their own, can be illustrative, but when taken together can be used to comprehensively arrive at a reasonably accurate assessment of a given site’s security credentials. Let’s take a look.
Vouched for by Trusted Sites
One of the most effective ways to work out whether a website is secure is to check whether leading platforms in the space it’s operating in would recommend its services. For example, Wazamba Casino, an online gaming provider, comes highly recommended by VegasSlotsOnline for gamers in New Zealand.
VegasSlotsOnline is a leading gaming platform that collates noteworthy and reputable sites among its directory of casino reviews from around the world, and furnishes its patrons with competitive welcome bonuses and other sign-up deals for me.
It is only able to deliver these affiliate promotions after first vetting each of its partners for compliance with local gaming authorities. As such, sites listed on it can be considered trustworthy.
Likewise, the North American insurance comparison platform The Zebra only recommends insurance providers with a proven track record of quality customer service and reliability.
Weird Permissions, Pop Ups and Cookies
Websites typically do not need to ask you for specialist permissions. For example, if a site asks for access to your webcam for no apparent reason, it’s best avoided. Likewise, it’s a perennial maxim but one that bears repeating – if a website tries to make you download a file in order to use it, this should be considered a glaring red flag.
While this kind of thing is less commonplace nowadays, it’s good to keep an eye out when it comes to pages with more than a reasonable amount of pop-ups, especially if those pop-ups are particularly intrusive and make phishing requests for your personal details. While these may not have been chosen by the webmaster, their presence can point to a website that has been breached by malware.
Does it Look Out of Date?
This one may sound strange, but a website that looks like it was last updated in the year 2000 could pose a security risk. This is because websites that haven’t been regularly visually updated are also unlikely to be built around modern web security standards.
As such, it’s good to exercise caution should you find yourself on a website that reminds you of the dial-up era. Even pages that have verifiably been updated more recently, but that still rock that dot-com aesthetic, should be treated with caution.
After all, there are many websites on the internet that have been consistently maintained for years with little change to their initial design and implementation.
Has Qualified for SSL Certification
Current protocols recommend SSL certification as a cornerstone of modern internet security. This certification, which stands for Secure Sockets Layer, guarantees that data moving between a website’s server, and your IP address, is encrypted. This prevents sensitive information being able to be intercepted by trackers or malicious actors.
In order to acquire an SSL certificate, a trusted third party must first vouch for you. This makes it very difficult for suspicious websites to gain this web standard. The process of identifying whether a website has SSL certification is straight-forward – simply look at its URL, if it begins with “https://” you’re good to go. Conversely, websites that begin “http://” do not have SSL certification. One needn’t necessarily avoid websites and platforms that do not have SSL, but it’s good to prioritize sources that have qualified for it.
Look Up the Owner
Every registered website can be traced to an existing individual or legal construct. With the help of services like Whois Domain Lookup you can easily discover this information. This will let you identify whether there’s anything suspicious going on with its ownership.
For example, suppose you’re on a blog that is supposedly written by a woman residing in France, but the look up information brings back details of a man living in America. While there are naturally benign explanations for situations like this, if you already had your doubts about the veracity of a particular platform beforehand, this can be a strong corroborating factor that the website may be untrustworthy.