Before you share any information online, it’s important to make sure the website connection is secure. Fortunately, there are two quick checks to help you identify that the website you’re visiting is encrypted over a secure connection.
- Look at the uniform resource locator (URL) of the website.
- A secure URL should begin with “https” rather than “http.”
- The “s” stands for secure, which indicates that the site is using a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate.
- The SSL Certificate lets you know that all your data is secured as it passes from your browser to the website’s server.
- A company must go through a validation process in order to get an SSL Certificate. But there are different levels of validation indicated by the color of the security status bar.
- Look for a green security address bar with a lock icon (regardless of which browser you’re using).
- The green color indicates “Extended Validation (EV) which is the highest level of validation for a website. This means the website has the safest ranking available.
- The location of the lock icon may appear in different places, based on the browser that you’re using (i.e. Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer) but it will always appear green in all browsers.
Remember to look for “https” and the green security address bar with the lock icon. If you don’t see those two indicators, the website is not secure. For more security tips visit UW–Madison Office of Cybersecurity.