THE ONLINE CORNER
February 2020. This is the online version of the article that appeared in the February edition of Snapd Dufferin / Caledon.
In today’s modern world with such rapidly advancing technology, and more news of scammers and fraudsters online it is important to be cautious when you are online. Whenever someone is asking you for personal information whether via email, website, or text – think twice before clicking or submitting your data. One thing that might help you feel safer when surfing online is to make sure that you are visiting sites that are secure and have an SSL certificate installed on the domain to verify ownership.
What is an SSL Certificate and Why is it Important
SSL certificates are used to create an encrypted channel between the client and the server. Transmission of such data as credit card details, account login information, any other sensitive information has to be encrypted to prevent eavesdropping.
With an SSL certificate, data is encrypted prior to being transmitted via Internet. Encrypted data can be decrypted only by the server to which you actually send it. This ensures that the information you submit to websites will not be stolen.
It is important to practice safe surfing on the Internet, and to make sure that any websites that you are visiting, and potentially submitting private information to are secure.
How do I know if a Website has an SSL Certificate?
If website has an SSL certificate the address of the website will show up as https:// instead of http://. The “s” indicates the certificate. Further you may see a warning on the top of your browser bar, especially on mobile that shows “not secure”. This means there is no SSL certificate and you should proceed with caution.
I have a Website and no SSL Certificate – What does this mean?
If your website does NOT have an SSL certificate your visitors might get a warning that your site is not secure, and they may close your site without further action. Another risk of not having an SSL certificate attached to your domain is that some internet browsers won’t even show your website. Obviously this could have a huge negative impact on your website traffic.
If you do have an SSL certificate visitors can proceed with confidence, AND Google will favour indexing your website for search engine results.
Other Ways to Stay Safe ONLINE
Do not click on any links in emails that you don’t trust.
Do not click on links coming through via TEXT that look suspicious.
If a site is asking for personal information, especially banking information, social insurance details etc proceed with caution.