You might not feel as though you’re in any immediate danger when you’re sitting at home with a mug of tea while browsing the web, but actually it can be risky in a number of ways – the most obvious being that it presents security risks. And even with the best security software in the world, you’re still much more vulnerable to problems than you probably realize. In fact, when you’re typing an address into your URL, it only takes one wrong letter to put you at serious risk and expose you to a range of security threats. Here then are some step-by-step instructions that can help you avoid these easy mistakes and keep yourself safer when browsing online.
Why one wrong letter can get you into a world of trouble Online (And how to stay safe in light of that)
Step 1: Avoid Typo Squatters
The first danger you can face by typing a single wrong letter into your address bar is that it can take you to the site of a typo squatter. These guys buy up domain names that are similar to other popular web addresses but out by a single letter – for instance ‘www.yajoo.com’ and then wait for people to land there accidentally.
Now if you think about the huge number of people who will accidentally mistype a popular site like Yahoo on a regular basis, you can imagine that these guys will get a lot of traffic through doing very little. In most cases this is harmless enough, and the majority will rely on advertising in order to make their money. The problem is what happens when those guys decide to try and squeeze a little more money out of you by including spyware on their site or worse by trying to trick you into giving them your details.
This is also why the savvy companies of course buy up all the domains surrounding theirs – and in this particular example that’s just what Yahoo have done: type Yajoo.com and you get taken to the real site. You can’t rely on that being the case every time though so be careful.
Goole.com looks harmless enough but is clearly taking advantage of the association with Google…
Step 2: Check for the ‘HTTPS’
This latter scenario is what happens in the case of a ‘phishing’ scam, in which the site will try to emulate the site you meant to go to and then trick you into entering your personal details. There are sites on the net that look exactly like PayPal with names like ‘OayPal’ which will then let you input your details and just use those to get at your money.
The most important thing of all is to look out for here is the ‘HTTPS’ at the far left of the URL. The ‘S’ here stands for ‘secure’ and if that’s there then you know that the data is going across an encrypted connection thus ensuring that nothing is going to get lost – and this isn’t something that phishing scams can get access to.
Step 3: Looking for the Warning Signs
So what else can you do to protect yourself? Well one tip is to bookmark your most often used sites. The other is to double check the URL you’ve typed in and to make sure that the site you’re looking at is the one it claims to be (normally phishing sites will have typos and other give-aways). You should be even more sure to check this as well if the link came to you in an e-mail, and remember that legitimate companies will never ask for your details via e-mail.
You should also look at the site itself and try to find anything out of place. Bad spellings tell you that a site isn’t particularly professional, while an out of date copyright notice can also be a common giveaway – it’s not the kind of thing a big company would let slip through their notice. If you see anything like this, then check the URL you typed in at the top and you’ll probably find you’re on the wrong site.
Step 4: Security Software
Finally, make sure to have security software installed on your machine and to use a good secure browser. This way, even if you do end up on the wrong site from time to time you will be protected against things like spyware – and if you use the best software you’ll even get warnings that the site is dangerous. Try McAfee for instance and you’ll get a ‘site adviser’ that tells you whether sites that show up in your search are safe or not.
Take these steps and you should be much safer when you browse online. But remember: just one ‘S’ makes all the difference to your internet security, and a date one year out can be a big warning sign. I told you that each letter was really important!
Do let me know your views and share your experience with us if your security has been compromised because of any typing error. Additionally if you have any doubts and want to ask anything not related to the article above than contact me here: Ask Ashwani
Today’s featured writer, Jason Haddad, is a tester at wellresearchedreviews.com. In his leisure time, he enjoys making use of social media to share his views and opinions on various issues.