The internet can be a very dangerous place. Around every corner of the web there are harmful viruses and malware just waiting to take advantageous of unsuspecting browsers.
It’s important that you’re not naïve when it comes to safety on the internet. It’s important that you can distinguish between safe and authentic websites and fraudulent scams online.
In recent years, internet scams and untrustworthy websites have become notably more advanced and can, to the untrained eyes, sometimes appear undistinguishable from regular websites.
Often scams can take on similar appearances, so if you can identify one, you can identify the majority.
There is usually something irregular or out of place about the web page, email or application you’re using - it may ask for details that you would deem unnecessary; it may say you’ve logged onto spent something that you have not and to confirm your details – there are many ways in which a scam can take place that will put your safety on the internet in jeopardy.
This article will teach you the signs to knowing whether a website is trustworthy or not while using Microsoft Edge.
Microsoft Edge is Windows new internet browser, replacing the long lasting (but much-maligned) Internet Explorer. Being introduced along with the Windows 10 operating system, Microsoft Edge offers a faster and importantly, more secure browsing experience.
Even though the search engine is more secure, that doesn’t mean it impermeable to malicious attacks. This article will hopefully arm you with the knowledge to protect yourself from scams online.
How Do I Know Whether To Trust A Website On Microsoft Edge?
If you ask "How Do I Know Whether To Trust A Website On Microsoft Edge", then, let's firts see the several recognised ways to determine whether a website is trustworthy or not. They are:
Below, we go into more detail on why you should always look out for these things and the reasons why they are there.
- Lock Symbol in Address Bar
- Website Authenticity Certificate
- Contact Details
- Other People had Good Experiences
- Pop-up ads/Unsolicited Emails
If you’re on a webpage that requires entry of your personal information – be that a password, a credit card number or confidential information – always ensure to check to see if the URL in the address bar of your internet browser starts with https://
The letter S is very important to look out for in this sequence of letters. This is the case because it signifies that the website is using Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS), a communications protocol for secure communication – if it’s there, then you’re generally okay. Do not enter any information if the web page you’re on is not secured by HTTPS.
The way to immediately identify if a website has HTTPS encryption, which as stated above, is what you’re looking for, is to look for the lock icon (usually green) in the address bar of a webpage.
A website’s validity can be verified as secure by clicking the lock icon in the address bar, which is usually located to the left of the URL in Microsoft Edge. This will prompt a pop-up to appear displaying the security certificate information of the website, as well as other significant security details.
There are also grey locks, which means that a website is encrypted and verified. However, a green lock means that Microsoft Edge considers the website more likely to be authentic.
The lock icon is one of the quickest ways to distinguish whether a website is secure or not, so always be wary of whether it is there or not.
Website Authenticity Certificate
As mentioned above, clicking the lock icon will bring up a website’s certificate of verification. This information confirms that the company running the website has a certificate to prove that they own the website.
It is known as an SSL Certificate, which is confirmation that all your data will be secure as it is passed from your browser to the websites server.
To get this certification, a company needs to go through an evaluation process. There are different levels of evaluation, some of which are easier for companies to obtain than others.,
For example, the lowest level of certification is the Domain Validation (DV), which simply validates the ownership of the domain and not the legitimacy of the organization requesting the certification.
With this being the case, if you bought the domain “facebo0k.com” and requested a certificate for it, you would get the certificate because you own the domain. So, it’s worth being wary of low-level validations.
On the other hand, the highest level of validation, the Extended Validation (EV), is the safest and most extensive and is a very good sign of a websites validity and security.
With Evaluated Certification, the company requesting the certification must prove their identity as well as the legitimacy of their business. You can tell if a site has EV certification by looking at the address bar: the lock icon will be joined by an entirely green address bar.
This statement is here so that you, as a browser and customer, feel comfortable to use or to continue using the website, and are okay with the policy of the vendor or retailer.
Keeping your information safe is the responsibility of the website you’re visiting, so you should be informed as to just how seriously they take this responsibility. You should always take precautions when voluntarily sharing information online, and checking for a privacy statement or policy is one of these precautions.
One way of determining a website or organisations validity that is easy to confirm are its contact details. Check to see if the website has a contact page that lists a physical address or phone number – if they do, that’s a decent indicator that a business is for real.
If you are unsure of whether a website is legitimate or not, contact the phone number to ensure that it is operational and connects to where it says it connects. Reputable companies will post their phone number and address online so that potential consumers can contact them. Just call the number for reassurance.
If there is an address, enter the details into a mapping website and find out if it is legitimate. It is a small measure to take to ensure that you’re dealing with a valid and registered business.
Other People had Good Experiences
It can never hurt to use your browser to check up on the website you are using. Open a new window on Microsoft Edge and type in the name of the website and a query about its legitimacy: “is (website) safe?”, for example.
Other people, who were potentially in the same boat as you may very well have asked this question, and hopefully your query will be answered already. If not, do not hesitate to ask a trusted forum of your own as to whether you can trust a particular web page. It may be somewhat of a hassle, but it’s better than being caught out by a fraudulent web page.
Some organisations and web pages may also have been reviewed, depending on what it is they do. Consult the reviews that people have left for the website, and if they’re generally positive, it could be a good sign – however, it is not a definitive sign, as some reviews could be faked in order to give the appearance of legitimacy. Always be sceptical when reading about potentially sceptical businesses and web pages.
It’s a shady sign when a website is inundated with pop-up advertisements, but what could be even more harmful are the pop-up ads themselves.
Pop-up advertisements can be deceptively realistic when they appear on your screen while browsing through websites. The can occur because of clicking on a link on a web page or simply by opening a web page.
If you engage with a pop-up ad, it may bring you to a phony website, oftentimes designed to gain access to your personal information. As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to steer well clear of pop-up ads.
Most reputable business don’t use them as they know that pop-up ads are very annoying and strongly disliked by consumers, and they may turn people off.
Consider downloading an ad blocker extension for Microsoft Edge. It may not eradicate the problem, but ad blockers can certainly cut down on the number of ads that invasively appear on your screen when browsing through certain websites.
One omnipresent online security risk is the unsolicited email scam. If you receive a suspicious email from a seemingly reputable source, there’s a good chance that it is an attempt to coerce you into giving your personal and financial details away.
Again, reputable online retailers do not send you emails unless you specifically signed up to get information from them or their partners.
Even if you have signed up for information and emails from reputable sites like PayPal, Apple, banks or eBay, be very wary of them if they appear suspicious – many of them are spoof sites; sites meant to fool you into giving away personal information.
There are ways to identify these spoof emails, although like advertisements, they have become more sophisticated and harder to distinguish between real and false. Carefully examine the email address – if it is fake, it will not have come from an official source. Also, look out for spelling errors and false addresses on the email.
You can always directly contact the genuine source to see if the email is authentic. It’s a far safer approach than simply giving your information away to these potentially malicious sources.
By following the above guidelines on Microsoft Edge, you should be safer when searching the web and be able to identify a suspicious site. Below are some tips on what you should NOT do when using Microsoft Edge.
Don’t Access a Website If:
There are some signs and indicators that you should be conscious of when accessing a website that may not be made clear to you. It’s an important skill to have when online to be able to identify potential threats and apply good reasoning and common sense to what you search for and agree for.
Scams and online threats can be difficult to distinguish from regular advertisements and transactions. Here are some reasons you should be aware of for NOT going to a website.
You should not access a website if:
- You learn about or are directed to a website by an unknown source or email message that was sent by someone you don’t know (or even someone in your contact list who sends you something without any explanation, as they themselves may have been hacked).
- The site offers objectionable or controversial content, such as pornography or illegal materials. These websites are far more liable to malicious external forces.
- The website makes you and that seems too good to be true. Sadly, more often than not, this can indicate a possible scam or the sale of illegal, stolen or pirated products.
- You are asked for a credit card number as a verification of your identity or for personal information that not seem necessary. If there is no reason why you should be giving your financial details, do not do it, because they could be taken advantage of.
- You are asked to provide a credit card number on a page that did not comply with the safety rules mentioned above – namely, the webpage not starting with HTTPS, no lock icon or has not been approved with a web certificate of authenticity.
It pays to be sceptical online. There are plenty of reputable vendors, so there is no reason why a webpage that you’re going to make a purchase on or share personal information with should not fill you with confidence.
Always remain vigilant of potentially harmful webpages and applications while browsing. Microsoft Edge does take some precautions to ensure your safety while using its services, however. Here is what Microsoft Edge does to keep you safe behind the scenes.
Microsoft Edge’s Safety Features
While it’s one thing knowing how to identify a threat, it’s also worth being aware of what precautions the browser itself is taking to protect you and your information.
Here are some factors that set Microsoft Edge aside from other browsers in the market:
The Edge Login Process – Regardless of what device you are using to access Microsoft Edge, you must undergo a login process for your safety.
The Microsoft Passport (which comes with Windows 10) will make you go through a two-stage authentication process to log into websites, which should forego fake or phishing websites.
This login process should negate phishing websites from gaining access to your data.
Sandboxing the Edge App
A large addition to the way Microsoft Edge operates, from a safety point of view is it always runs in partial sandbox mode. In doing so, the browser prevents attackers from gaining control of your entire computer resources, if worse comes to worse.
It is already hard for attackers to gain access to browsers, because they are mainly using signed extensions (more on them below), but even if they do gain access to the browser, they will be sandboxed and put there so they can’t go ahead and compromise or infiltrate your computer.
Introduced with Internet Explorer 8, Microsoft SmartScreen is an essential component of safety on Microsoft Edge. It protects users from phishing sites by performing a reputation check on the websites they’re trying to get on to.
If a website is deemed to be alright, Microsoft SmartScreen will allow you to advance to it, and if anything appears to be suspicious, you will get a clear warning. Even when applications attempt to access malicious websites on their own, SmartScreen will prevent them from doing so.
No ActiveX and Other Controls – A Secure Model
This means, older and less secure websites will need to upgrade to HTML5 rather than remain with the less safe ActiveX which many older websites depend on. The webs will be a safer place in years to come if developers make the move to HTML5 and Microsoft Edge encourages developers to this.
While this may not mean much to the average web browser, these updates are a good sign for the future of malware and virus prevention online.
Defending Against Memory Corruption
Hackers can easily send scripts to a program that might result in buffer (memory) overflows, and while the browser is dealing with it, invade the machine that the browser is working on.
Microsoft are aware of this and have taken some measures to preventing it from taking place – Microsoft Edge makes the browser more secure by preventing buffer overflow using a wide range of techniques.
Extensions for Edge
As mentioned earlier in the article, Microsoft Edge’s extensions make it a generally safer way to browse. There are extensions to the browser, that have been tested thoroughly before being made available. If an extension is deemed to be unsafe, you will not be able to download it on Edge – this also extends to applications that use manipulative languages like Java and Silverlight.
There are always new and emerging issues that could become threats for
(and any other browser). To counter them,
will have bug bounty programs and be creating maintenance patches from time to time to maintain upkeep on the browser. These will help them both identify new threats and discover any vulnerabilities that the official team might have missed.
As you are no doubt highly aware, many people ask "how Do I know whether to trust a website on Microsoft Edge" and know that the internet can be a very dangerous place.
It can also be a wonderful tool for discovering information and completing easy transactions online.
You shouldn’t let scammers ruin your experience online, and the only way to ensure that they cannot do so is by arming yourself with the knowledge to negate and recognise fraudulent behaviour.
By following the above steps and guidelines, hopefully you will be safer online. There are some general rules of thumb that you should always adhere to:
- Does the URL have the letters https:// at the beginning? If so it is a good indicator that the website is safe.
- Does the website that’s asking for my personal details have a lock icon in the address bar? This is confirmation that the site is secure.
- Is the address bar green? If so the website has been evaluated and is likely safe.
- Does the webpage have a privacy statement? Look at it, and be wary of what is being done with your information.
- Is there a contact page? Ensure that you’re dealing with an authentic company, retailor or organisation by doing some further research on them and confirming the details they have given.
- Are the prices too low on the website to believe? That could potentially be because they are too good to believe – be careful going forward.
- Have you arrived on a webpage through a pop-up advertisement or an unsolicited email and are being asked for personal or financial information? Disregard this and stop, it is more than likely unsafe and a scam.
By following or at least being aware of these steps, you will have a safer and better time while browsing the internet using Microsoft Edge.