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Identifying safe websites

It can be pretty tough to tell if a website is trustworthy or not nowadays since cyberspace is so flooded with phishing websites and scams. Many of them are designed to look truly respectable, but even a very well-known site could be unsafe. It’s up to you to make sure that you’ve learned how to recognize when a website is dangerous and when it’s not. You can use multiple approaches on this one, but keeping your web security at the highest level is a top priority. Why is that?

How do I investigate a website before visiting it?

You’ll always run into links on the web that look tempting, urging you to click on them. When you see something like this on a certain website, don’t click on it before checking the link’s source. Links that look suspicious may come from many different sources: it may come via email, or you can run into it on another website. So, DO NOT click on the link, rather check it first.

Here’s how: Hover over the link and right click on it. Go to “Copy the link…” option. Then go to, for example Bitly website and click “Paste”, then “Enter”. The link should be appeared as a shortened version of the URL you entered. But if the link appears as an un-shortened link, go to this site and now enter the shortened version (from Bitly) in order to continue with the investigation. If there’s no longer version of the link to be displayed, it’s most likely a scam.

Checking the confidentiality level on other sites

  • When you enter the URL of the website you want to visit to  Zulu URL Risk Analyzer, it will report you with an overall risk score of how dangerous the site might be, from 0 to 100 (with 100 being extremely dangerous).
  • The other site where you can scan a web page is Comodo Web Inspector. When you paste a website’s URL, you’ll be welcomed with an in-depth analysis, including if it’s rated as High risk and whether or not you should be concerned about it.

What is SSL certificate and why it is important?

You may want to be wary of a site who asks you for any confidential or personal information. If a site asks for your credit card number, bank number, etc. it might be a very clear sign that it’s dangerous. I would strongly recommend that you DO NOT share or transmit sensitive information on the website before you check if it’s secured with an SSL certificate.

How to recognize it? If the website you want to check starts with https instead of http, it IS probably secured and you have less to worry about. If the website is secured, then no one can see the information you are sharing with operators (e.x. the number of you credit or bank cards), besides you and them.

Additional info: Please be sure to stay away from ads and popups that ask you to install plugins if you want to see the content, or anything like that. Those are probably bad sites that just want to use your information.

Have you ever encountered any phishing or scamming websites?

How did you recognize it?