You may have heard that Google announced a new security feature being added to Gmail: Going forward, Gmail will flag emails being sent to its users from “unauthenticated” senders, essentially those that cannot be guaranteed to come from a legitimate source. These changes ought to cut down the risk of phishing attacks, keeping users from opening malicious attachments or clicking dangerous links. But it does beg the question: How do you know if you’re browsing safely when you’re outside of your Gmail account?
There is a laundry list of precautions you should be taking when online, most of which are fairly common sense: protecting your device and network with a strong password, keeping your system and anti-malware software up to date, and not giving out personal or financial information whenever possible. In general, sticking to trusted websites by reputable operators should keep you safe most of the time.
But we all have to navigate to new, unknown websites from time to time. In these cases, you might need to go the extra distance to confirm that you’re browsing safely. Clicking on the appropriate icon in your browser bar will bring up a prompt containing the website’s security certificates. This assures you that sensitive information, like passwords or credit card numbers, are securely transmitted between yourself and the site.
For website operators, setting up these security verifications requires an SSL certificate for the appropriate domain name. Certain certificates, such as the GeoTrust RapidSSL Wildcard, also protect an unlimited number of subdomains, so your homepage, blog, eCommerce storefront, can all be protected at once. It only takes one hack or cyberattack to ruin a brand’s reputation online, so don’t leave your website vulnerable when simple precautions like SSL certificates are available.
When we browse online, we usually expect everything to “just work,” which includes keeping our data and personal information secure and private. That doesn’t mean you should be complacent; that’s exactly the attitude cybercriminals will take advantage of. Double-check that sites you visit have their security certificates up to date (and set up SSL certificates for your own websites) so you can rest a little easier as you head online.