Every website owner should take responsibility for ensuring the safety of their visitors, but unfortunately, some websites just aren’t secure. An unsafe website can spread malware, steal your information (possibly for identity theft), send spam, and more. To protect yourself and your personal information from hackers, it’s important to know what a legitimate website looks like. But how can you tell? Look for these six signs that a website is safe:
If you see an icon with the words “Secure” or “Verified,” it’s likely a trust seal. A trust seal indicates that the website works with a security partner. These seals are often an indicator that a site has HTTPS security, but they can also indicate other safety features, like the date since the site’s last malware scan.
Although 79 percent of online shoppers expect to see a trust seal, the presence of the seal isn’t enough. It’s also important to verify that the badge is legitimate. Fortunately, it’s easy to do – simply click the badge and see if it takes you to a verification page. This confirms that the site is working with that particular security firm. It doesn’t hurt to do your own research on the company supplying the badge, too!
If a trust seal is legitimate, clicking on it will take you to a page that verifies the authenticity of that seal. As an example, SiteLock’s verification page looks like this.
Make sure you’re not accessing a malicious website with Google Safe Browsing. This free tool helps protect internet users from visiting dangerous websites or downloading malicious files. It not only identifies and flags websites that contain malware or phishing content, warning users before they can even access them, but Google Search Browsing also constantly updates its database of unsafe websites.
SiteLock also offers a free website scanner. Simply input your domain name, and SiteLock will conduct a free external scan, searching for known malware or malicious code while ensuring your site is up-to-date and secure. While this scan is effective at detecting visible malware, certain types may require deeper investigation with server access. For a thorough check, we recommend website owners conduct a comprehensive full scan, especially if server issues are suspected.