University of Wisconsin–Madison
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Two things to look for in a secure website

Before you share any information online, it’s important to make sure the website is secure. Fortunately, there are two quick checks to help you be certain.

  1. Look at the uniform resource locator (URL) of the website. A secure URL should begin with “https” rather than “http.” The “s” in “https” stands for secure, which indicates that the site is using a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate. This lets you know that all your data is encrypted as it passes from your browser to the website’s server.
  2. Look for a lock icon near your browser’s location field. Because securing websites via SSL has become more the norm than the exception, it is now more common for web browsers to highlight insecure sites than secure ones. If a site isn’t secure, you may see a lock icon with a strike through it, or a text message reading “Not secure.”

Remember to look for “https” and 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.

While making sure the sites you visit are secure is important, you should also always be sure that a site is legitimate before entering a username, password or any other personal information. Paying close attention to the site’s URL in your browser’s location field, for example, can help you be certain that you’re on a legitimate site rather than a look-alike imposter.