The address bar is the most informative area in a web page, but unfortunately, it is overlooked by people in their haste to read the main content. It is the quickest and most technical way of detecting fraud websites. Here’s how scanning the address bar of a website with logic and attention, can reveal details on authenticity or otherwise, of a website.
The address bar or the location bar
Also called as the URL bar, it is the first place to look for, to ascertain if the user has visited a safe web page. This assumes pivotal importance when you access a website from links sent by email and while accessing a webpage from an unknown browser. People who are using the internet need to gain some basic knowledge on how to scrutinize the address page and to conform accessing the desired and genuine website.
URL of fraud websites
Fraud websites usually beguile visitors by cleverly making their URL closely resemble a reputed website. For example http://www.amazon.com may be forged by creating a fake website with the URL http://www.amizon.com which might be easily overlooked by the visitor. Examining the URL of the website in the address bar is the simplest way to ascertain the genuine nature of the website.
On observing the address bar of a genuine and secure website, one is sure to note that the following protocol in maintained, though the format of the widgets may differ slightly, depending on the browser that is used:
- The padlock symbol, which is mostly absent in fraudulent websites
- Extended validation certificate or a trust seal which may be affixed in many cases as an extra measure of communicating security and trust
- The above mentioned text is colored green in trusted websites which further vouch cyber safety
- The URL that begins with https:// means that SSL technology is being used, which is again a layer of security
Understanding SSL and its use in detecting fraud websites
The appearance of https:// in an address bar confirms that the website is genuine. However specific attention of the internet user is drawn to the following:
- Only on obtaining a valid SSL certificate, the padlock sign as well as the aforesaid https protocol is visible on the address bar. It is obvious that fraud websites will not bother for such investment.
- SSL safeguards an organizations data by binding a cryptographic key onto its details and ensuring that the connections from the web server to the browser are safe
- As an additional step, ensure that the SSL certification is valid. Where the word https appears red and is struck-through, it means that the certification has expired and the URL is outside the layer of security granted by SSL technology.
Pay heed when your browser warns of fraud websites
In most cases, people tend to ignore and override the security warnings when navigating to unsafe websites. URL spoofing is the name given to misleading people to land in look-alike and cloned websites that are fraudulent. This may be avoided by heeding the browser warnings.