Search Engines

Search Engines (Google and Bing, for example) are amazingly powerful. Information is readily accessible via a question in the search bar. But, this series of articles is about how to stay safe online and results from a search engine need to be used carefully.

At the top of the Google Search results, you will see Ads that have been paid for. So, be aware that is what they are and treat them accordingly!

The results of the search are presented as LINKS. How can you be sure that the website this will take you to is safe? This is an area where the extended antivirus suites can help. They will indicate if the site is safe or is a risk.

Google is now “encouraging” the use of greater security in websites. Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is the secure version of HTTP, the protocol over which data is sent between your browser and the website that you are connected to. The ‘S’ at the end of HTTPS stands for ‘Secure’. It means all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted.

To get this security protocol for a website it has to obtain a certificate. A valid certificate gives you an indication that the website is probably more trustworthy. The certificate has to be renewed periodically and you may notice some websites where the certificate has lapsed. You should also be able to see the padlock icon on such secure sites. It should be evident that the site is secure in the Search result, as shown here.

Google now highlights those sites that are not secure.

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