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The Resource Center Online Security Issues & Protection | article

Help Prevent Identity Theft by Recognizing Secure Websites

recognize a secure web addressParents and children need to educate themselves on recognizing websites that could pose dangers to the security of their computer and their identity. With kids increasingly going online, cyber-criminals are taking note and pouncing at any opportunity to take advantage of a child.

A 2008 research study conducted at the Rochester Institute of Technology concluded that while the average age of children participating in social media goes down, their behavior consistently shows a lack of responsibility.

Detecting A Secure Web Address

There are ways to recognize if a website is secure by paying attention to the address bar. Everyday you will see a web address that begins with “http://.” This sort of website is NOT encrypted. Ideally, this is because the website isn’t asking a user to share any personal information, like their Social Security number or address.

If a person is asked to share personal information, they should check to make sure the site’s web address starts with “https://.” That added “s” makes a world of difference, as it shows the site has been encrypted with security measures to protect personal information, also known as the Secure Socket Layer (SSL).

Red Means Stop, Green Means Go

Users may notice the color of the font at the beginning of the address may be either green or red. Green tells a user that the SSL has been verified by the Web server, and it is safe for users to share certain information. On the other hand, red in the address bar means someone would be taking a risk by providing information on that specific site.

This is some basic information that even a young child should be able to understand. It is important for parents to be sure  their children are able to recognize a secure website before allowing them to go online unsupervised.