With the high penetration of integration in our daily life, it is becoming riskier to maintain our online identity. It is equally risky to share our details with websites or online business that we come across and may find useful.
Online communities are full of useful portals that make our life easier. But there are certain illegitimate websites that may adversely affect you. They can steal your passwords, your banking details, and credit card details or may install certain malware or viruses that that do the job for them. They can even post various lucrative offers and discounts and encourages you to share your details or click somewhere on their website I order to avail the offer. Once you click it, they do their job without your consent.
It is becoming important for us to keep a check on such websites and do a research on them before using. Here I am sharing some tips to check about credibility and legitimacy of such websites. So if you come across such websites where you doubt their credibility, use the following tips to keep a check on them and protect your online activities.
1. Check with Google:
It is a good practice to check with Google about the malware and safe browsing activities of a particular website:
Open your browser and in the address bar, click the following URL:
Replace domain.com with the name of website, you want to check and press enter.
In the legitimate result, Google clearly indicates that:
- This site is not currently listed as suspicious.
- In the second line: 0 page(s) resulted in malicious software being downloaded and installed without user consent.
In the remaining details, Google clearly indicates about the distribution of malware by the website and whether website hosts malware software in past 90 days.
Had it been an illegitimate website, Google would have indicated it based on its 90 days of activities.
2. Check their SSL certificate:
SSL Certificates are small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organization’s details. When installed on a web server, it activates the padlock and the HTTPS protocol (over port 443) and allows secure connections from a web server to a browser.
In layman terms, a legitimate website will use SSL to encrypt the data which is being transmitted from the server to the browser or vice-versa, so that the data does not get hacked during the transmission.
If a site is using SSL, that does not guarantee that it is a legitimate website but at least you may enquire whether a particular website is concerned for its user’s security or privacy or not. If a site is not using SSL, it climbs a ladder of being an illegitimate website. At least you will not share your details with such websites that are easy targets for hackers.
Go to https://www.digicert.com/help/ and enter the website address in the Server Address field. This website will display the SSL certificate details of the website that you want to enquire.
3. Check with NORTON:
NORTON is one of the most reliable name that we have heard especially when it comes to our computer’s safety and security. They offer a free service to enquire the safety and security of a website which is based on the safety, security and annoyance factor of a website.
Go to https://safeweb.norton.com/ and enter the address of the website that you want to verify. The report will indicate whether is website is safe to work or not.
4. Check for website’s contact information and professional look:
Can you easily find the full contact info of the business: official company name, physical address, phone numbers, fax numbers, email (or contact form), etc. How does the website looks, check for spelling mistakes and offer details. Give a call to their contact number and check if anyone responds or not.
Difficulty to come up with a business’s contact info and professionalism is a main cause for concern
5. Check for Online Reviews
Maka query on Google to check for reviews of other people on such websites. Normally, most of the people provide their negative or positive feedback about any product, service or website. If you come across any such negative feedback, try not to use the website any further.
These are some of the steps that I personally follow to determine the legitimacy of a website or any services. If you use any other service to verify, please do indicate in the comments below for other to do good.