Information Technology

SURF SAFE!

dogs on a surfboard

There are bad characters out there that will use phony web links to capture your passwords and to deliver malware to your system.  Get in the habit of checking links before you click on them.   Here is how to do it.

Hover your mouse over a link (or a photo with an embedded link) until the cursor changes to the hand icon.  Now look in the lower left hand corner of your browser and you will see the Internet address the link will take you to.  The picture below shows an example.   When the mouse is held over the weblink named "WebOPUS", the cursor changes into a hand icon.  In the lower left the actual address of the link is shown, which is "https://fortlewis.edu/webopus"

screenshot of WebOpus link

Be especially careful with links in emails, social media messages and from websites returned from search results. Watch out for addresses that look familiar but aren't quite right.  

Compare the real link and the fake link in this example:

Real:  https://fortlewis.edu/webopus

Fake: https://fortlewis.magix.net/webopus

 

When you do navigate to a page, check to see if the site is secured.  The URL will start with "https" and the closed padlock icon in the address bar tells you that the traffic between your browser and the website is securely encrypted.  Each browser will show the padlock a little bit diferently as you can see in the example below.  Secured website examples: 

screenshots

Never enter your account password into a site that is not secured or shows an error or unlocked padlock or errors like the ones below!  This means the site may have been hijacked or it is not where you expected to go.  Unsecured website examples:

screenshots

screenshot of security certificate error message

Going to the wrong sites can infect your system with malware that can destroy your files and expose your personal information.

Safe surfing is easy.  Review where the links are taking you before you click, don't ignore browser warnings and make sure the site you are visiting is secure... and surf on!

dog on surf board in sunlight