When browsing on the Internet, you will be familiar with the padlock symbol that appears just to the left of the internet address. Depending on your browser, the padlock symbol may be green.
That padlock means ‘secure’ and you should never input any confidential information on a website if there isn’t a padlock symbol showing.
However, this does not mean that the website is safe to use – only that a level of encryption is in use between the browser and the Internet address. This encryption is called SSL.
The little padlock does not mean that the website is safe as criminals can easily get SSL for their fake scam websites.
Google has plans to stop using the padlock symbol as the vast majority of websites now do use SSL security, so would have the padlock symbol.
If you want more details on a website’s security, you can click on the padlock symbol and it will tell you the organisation name for the encryption certificate. If it doesn’t match the domain name (i.e. the Internet address) then that is a red warning flag.
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