Dangers of visiting unsecured websites

January 23rd · 5 min read

Rotem Tal - Cybersecurity Writer and Editor
Rotem Tal - Cybersecurity Writer and Editor

Unsecured websites: A Guide to Dodging Digital Danger

In the minds of most people, downloading files from the internet is the only way they’re exposed to online dangers. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Most of the time, attacks start when you accidentally or unknowingly do something, like clicking a link or giving out your personal information. In other cases the cyberattack can even occur undetected - without you even knowing.

While some websites seem legit at first, they can be filled with dangerous viruses and malware. Let’s say you were searching online for some funny cat videos, and found www.funnycatvids.com, then clicked a link - you may get some laughs with an added twist of malware and viruses - not exactly what you were hoping for. The numbers are shocking.

| More than 50% of websites have security vulnerabilities, making every one of your online experiences a Russian roulette |

The thing is that even the biggest most popular social media sites like Facebook, and Twitter can be attacked and affected by third-party hackers. Most people post a lot of their personal information on there, without thinking twice or being aware of the risks. As a result, hackers have created scams specifically targeting social media sites. In this blog, we'll provide you with tips on how to identify and steer clear of these unsecured websites, ensuring your online safety. Plus we'll introduce Guardio's mobile app and Chrome extension as an essential security tool to your digital arsenal. Let's jump in!

Have you visited an unsecure website?

You probably don't know but your data may be at risk! Secure your online journey with Guardio.

What’s a secure website?

This next part may seem a bit techy, but it really isn’t that hard to understand, plus we brought pictures to exemplify. A secure website is built with advanced encryption and security measures to protect the data exchanged between the website and its visitors. It’s identified by the "HTTPS" protocol in the website's URL, indicating a secure connection. On top of that, secure websites use SSL/TLS certificates to encrypt sensitive information, such as passwords, credit card details, or personal data, ensuring that it remains confidential and can't be intercepted by malicious actors.

On the other hand, a nonsecure website lacks proper encryption and does not implement SSL/TLS certificates. It uses the "HTTP" protocol instead of "HTTPS." When visiting a nonsecure website, any data transmitted between the website and the visitor is sent in plain text, making it open to interception by hackers and cyber criminals. This can leave your personal information exposed to potential risks, as it can easily be accessed or stolen.

Simply put, the main difference between a secure and nonsecure website lies in the encryption and protection of data. Secure websites prioritize the privacy and security of user information, while nonsecure websites leave sensitive data vulnerable to interception and misuse.

How can you tell if a website’s secure?

While Firefox, Google Chrome, and Safari have different icons that indicate if a website is secure or not, they mostly look the same, and can be found in the top address bar - where you type your search or website you want to go to.

Secure vs. Unsecure

What happens if you visit an unsecure website?

Stealing sensitive information: Anytime you visit a website with a "Not Secure" warning, all the data and sensitive information sent to that site can be stolen or modified. Be caitious before entering your personal details on an unsecured websites. In other words, think twice when filling in passwords and credit cards, because hackers can find and steal them. A good rule of thumb is to not put your data on unsafe HTTP protocol sites - there’s even a warning that appears before you access them.

Altering exchanged information: HTTP, or Hypertext Transfer Protocol, is the web protocol that sends requests to a web server. The website we want to visit is then retrieved and displayed on our web browser. This protocol does not encrypt data by default, so all information is exchanged with the server without any security measures.

Keep in mind that anyone who accesses the network can easily intercept and modify the content of your connection, which could lead to the theft of sensitive information. For example, hackers could change a bank account number to steal money or insert code into retrieved web pages.

Redirecting to other websites: Because unencrypted websites lack security, hackers can redirect your connection to any site they want. Let’s say they change a URL, they can the redirect you to a malicious website that will automatically install malware on your device - without you even knowing it.

Man in the middle attack: A man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack is a cyberattack tactic where attackers eavesdrop or copy an ongoing conversation or data transfer. Hackers will "hijack" information by appearing as though they are participating in a conversation or data transfer. Metaphorically, the cybercrinals position themselves between the user's web browser and the website server. Next, they steal or change the information that you just exchanged.

Eavesdropping, Sniffing or Snooping: A passive MITM attack, such as eavesdropping, snooping or sniffing, is where hackers secretly listen to private conversations. Their goal is to gather informstion while not interfering with the connection.

Parameter Tampering: is a technique used in cyber attacks where hackers modify the parameters of a website's request. By changing these parameters, they can manipulate the website's behavior to their advantage. This can involve altering data, bypassing security measures, or gaining unauthorized access to the website's systems.

Cyber criminals will usually tamper with URL query strings, HTTP headers, form fields, and cookies. This causes the browser to go to a site, page or link other than what you expected. For example, hackers may alter the values of parameters to bypass security measures, gain unauthorized access, or manipulate data and then gain access to information you put on the website.

Make sure you’re protected online with Guardio

Here's what Guardio can do for you:

  • 24/7 protection
  • Scam protection
  • Cross-platform protection
  • Real-time identity theft protection
  • Blocks annoying pop-ups with malicious code
  • Family protection (up to 5 family members)
  • Scan your device for malware
  • Makes sure there's no browsing interruptions
  • Protect your online identity and inform you of any information leaks

Final thoughts

There are many potential threats associated with visiting unsecure websites. These include stealing sensitive information, altering exchanged data, redirecting to malicious sites, and engaging in man-in-the-middle attacks or eavesdropping.

Keep a close eye on the websites you visit and secure your online activities to keep yourself safe. Avoid clicking on suspicious links or attachments, and be aware of any warnings that may indicate an unsafe site. Ultimately, having a security tool like Guardio on your side can help you steer clear from dangerous sites, harmful downloads and phishing attacks. Did we mention, that there’s a 7-day free trail?

Protect Your Data from the Web's Hidden Dangers

Venturing onto unsecured websites is a gamble with your personal information. Don't leave it to chance. Protect yourself with Guardio and enjoy peace of mind with every click.
Protect yourself with Guardio

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