Updated: May 14, 2020
How can you know if a website is secure? In the olden days of the internet—the ancient early 2010s—the common answer to this question was pretty simple: look for the little lock in the browser bar indicating the site has a security certificate. But times have changed.
The lock beside your domain isn't enough.
Last year Google Chrome removed the "secure" indicator on sites that use https. It replaced this with a "not secure" warning for sites that only use http.
1. Yes, look for the little padlock, but that's not enough.
Checking for the little lock or the https is the minimum precaution you need to take to secure your data online.
If there's no lock icon beside your domain name this means your server is not encrypted and that anyone listening in on to the network you're at is able to see all your discussions with the server.
This can include your username and password or even more valuable personally identifiable data.
2. Double-check the URL
It's a simple thing to look over but while you're checking for the lock, make sure you're actually on the site you mean to be on.
3. Do a little research
If you've done these first two steps and you still don't feel secure, trust your instincts - especially if you're considering making an online purchase.
Before you click "buy", you can do some basic research on the site.
Common things to look for is if there is a phone number, a physical location, or an email.
Older websites tend to be less secure. Before giving out crucial information like a credit card make sure the website is locked, mobile friendly, and has important contact information available.