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Good evening to everyone

Every time a webpage asks for your personal details, such as the credit card number, you have to know if that page is safe. The ability to recognize a safe online connection is vital since the number of online frauds has increased significantly.


-What do we mean exactly with the term "safe"? -Elina

Every time you type some details which are asked by a website, they are transmitted as plain text. This means that anyone –who knows how to do it- can see these details....

Now think of that.

This information travels through the internet till it reaches its destination, passing through other computers.

Let’s see that in practice. How many intermediary computers will be involved in the connection between my computer and, for example the computer hosted on the Google web page.

The process that I will follow to take that information is not the topic of this lesson so this will not be presented in detail.


In the list, every line is a different intermediary node till my computer will be able to connect to the above mentioned page. As you can see there are several nodes.

As you understand there are several computers intervened in order for our computer to connect to a webpage on the internet.


Imagine what would happen if the details that you typed were the number of your credit cards or an important password...



The answer to the problem above is given through encryption of the details so that they cannot be read by anyone. The SSL technology has been developed for this purpose.

SSL uses a complex system  of exchanging keys between your browser (for example mozilla firefox) and the webpage you contact aiming to encrypt the information shared.

A webpage with SSL is considered to be safe.

How can someone understand if a webpage is safe?

There are two ways:

1) From the webpage address (URL).

All the internet addresses start with "http". A safe webpage the address starts with "https" – Notice the "s" at the end.


2) Search for the lock icon.

All the webpage browsers, when they display a safe webpage, they display somewhere  a lock.

The lock icon is not just a picture. If you click on it you will see details of the website security. This information is vital because many fake web pages, aiming to deceive you, are created in a way to include a lock icon. So, it would be useful to check the lock link in order to be informed about the security details.

Another important detail which you have to check before you decide to submit your personal details on a webpage is the privacy policy of the business appeared on the webpage. The «privacy policy» is a document which informs you of the way the personal details are used and recorded in the specific website. All the responsible businesses have a «privacy policy» which is displayed on the home page of the website.


-If I do all these, will I be safe? -Elina

We can never reach maximum security and be 100% safe on the internet. The risk, we could say is the same as going shopping and having your wallet stolen.

To reduce the chances even more though, and have secure transactions or to minimize the loss in case something goes wrong you can follow these tips:

  1. Make your online purchases from your computer when you are online at home and not from public computers.
  2. Avoid web pages with unbelievable offers. In most cases they are too good to be true and they have «hidden» charges.
  3. Trust online stores that you know. Stores that are well known or stores that are building their reputation. Have a look at the reviews made by other users. Sometimes these comments can be very helpful.
  4. Do not use credit cards that are connected to bank accounts with a lot of money. You can ask your bank to issue one prepaid card in which you will be able to deposit the desirable amount of money BEFORE you make any purchases. In this case, if you are unlucky and something goes wrong you will only lose the specific amount of money.
  5. Since these prepaid cards usually have commission every time you deposit and you may not want to pay that amount you can choose payment through a reliable company operating a worldwide online payments system such as PAYPAL. Creating a PAYPAL account is very simple. During registration you will be asked to submit a credit card or a debit card or even directly connect your bank account to your paypal account. On your online purchases you can choose PAYPAL. When you do that, PayPal will pay for you with your credit card or bank account! By making a purchase through PayPal, the number of your credit or debit card will not be revealed under any circumstances to the store or the web page where we make the purchase. Also paypal has a very strict policy on transactions and refunds, which provides excellent security to its customers. Rarely you will find a fraudulent website that accepts payments through PayPal.



The security mentioned above is not important for web pages with news or entertaining content. The web pages which must have the above security features are those which ask us to submit private personal details such as credit card numbers etc.