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How to Know if A Website Is Safe

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One of the biggest advantages of the Internet age is the ability to take care of business transactions, purchases, and bills remotely. Between the COVID-19 epidemic and the approaching holiday season, shopping online is a godsend. But, as with all modern technology, the Internet is also a double-edged sword. 

Making purchases from the comfort of your home means that your sensitive personal information will be flying around and may end up in the wrong hands. While it’s the retailer’s job to protect the information you leave on their website, the sad truth is that some of them simply don’t. And there are a lot of ways for scam artists and cybercriminals to take advantage of unsecured websites, from stealing information and sending malware to a complete takeover. 

So, before you share sensitive information or make a payment online, it’s also your responsibility to make sure the website is safe. And we’re about to show you what signs to look for.

 

S is for Security

The letter ʽSʼ in the HTTPS shows the website URL is secure, meaning that all the communication between the site and your browser is encrypted. This security comes from the SSL certificate that protects all the sensitive information you enter, also indicated by the green padlock icon. While HTTPS doesn’t mean that the website is completely secure, it is a good starting point to know your information is not up for grabs to cybercriminals. In other words, it’s the first layer of protection, and any website without it that requests sensitive or financial information is the one you should stay away from. 

Read Real Reviews

Before you start digging through the website for the tell-tale security flaws, the second step should be to do some quick research. Fake sites will have fake reviews and recommendations posted by the creator, so you should search for genuine ones elsewhere. For example, if you want to play online games, you can find a list of reliable sites to ensure you have a safe gaming experience and a fun time. 

Then you can double-check that information simply by typing the name of the website in your search engine. If it’s a popular and reputable site, you’ll get a lot of information on it in your results, posted by other users. This can cover topics like experience with products and customer service to warnings about scams and things to avoid. 

Trust Your Gut

Once on the website, always trust your first impression. If something seems even slightly off, you should search for an answer as to why that is. Cybercriminals want to start with their scams quickly and disappear before the authorities can take action against them, so many fake websites are put together in haste. That can leave a lot of tell-tale signs such as poor quality images and videos, as well as spelling errors, especially when it comes to the name of the products and brands. 

Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean that every fake website would be sloppy. Some of them will have a very faithful design to their genuine counterparts, so it’s good to know the brand before shopping online. That way it’ll be easier to recognize if the design matches the style of a certain brand. 

 

If you’re not familiar enough with the brand, you should always go through the website’s content more thoroughly before leaving your sensitive information. Genuine and legitimate businesses always want to make the perfect impression on their websites, so even a small number of grammar and spelling mistakes can show a lack of care and indicate the possibility of a scam.  

Look for contact details

Along the same track, legitimate sites will always contain full identifying contact information. So not just email addresses, but also social media accounts, phone numbers, physical addresses, and returns policy – all the things that can easily be traced and checked. Every piece of contact information needs to be displayed clearly. If it doesn’t match what you know about a certain business or it’s nowhere to be found, the site is probably a fake one. Having the means to reach someone in case you need assistance is an important part of every legitimate business. 

Make Sure They Care

Data privacy laws exist worldwide, from Australia to the EU where they’re particularly strict. Among other things, they require every website to have a privacy policy that clearly communicates how the website collects, uses, and protects your personal information. While impeccable design and full contact information show that a certain company cares for their business and customers, a privacy policy is a clear sign that the owner also cares about the safety of the website by complying with the correct laws and regulations. So don’t just check if there is one, but read it through to make sure everything is in order.

Personal information translates to cash for cybercriminals so be sure they’ll be looking for every hole in the website’s security. That means you need to do the same. Start with the SSL certificate, pay attention to the design, look for contact information and privacy policy, and don’t forget to search the web for reviews and recommendations left by other genuine users. The increased traffic and online sales in the upcoming holiday season are among the reasons why you should be mindful of the above and exercise caution – but really, staying safe online should be a priority all year round.

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Trump threatens defence veto over social media protections – Canora Courier

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is threatening to veto a defence policy bill unless it ends protections for internet companies that shield them from being held liable for material posted by their users.

On Twitter Tuesday night, Trump took aim at Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which protects companies that can host trillions of messages from being sued into oblivion by anyone who feels wronged by something someone else has posted — whether their complaint is legitimate or not.

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Trump called Section 230 “a serious threat to our National Security & Election Integrity,” adding, “Therefore, if the very dangerous & unfair Section 230 is not completely terminated as part of the National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA), I will be forced to unequivocally VETO the Bill.”

Trump has been waging war against social media companies for months, claiming they are biased against conservative voices.

In October he signed an executive order directing executive branch agencies to ask independent rule-making agencies, including the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission, to study whether they can place new regulations on the companies.

Since losing the presidential election, Trump has flooded social media with unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. Twitter has tagged many such Trump tweets with the advisory, “This claim about election fraud is disputed.”

Tuesday’s veto threat is another potential roadblock for the passage of the annual defence policy measure, which is already being held up in Congress by a spat over military bases named for Confederate officers. The measure, which has passed for 59 years in a row on a bipartisan basis, guides Pentagon policy and cements decisions about troop levels, new weapons systems and military readiness, military personnel policy and other military goals.

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Bill Barr bashed in right-wing media after election fraud comments: 'He is either a liar or a fool or both' – CNN

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Since he was confirmed as attorney general, William Barr has been somewhat of a hero in the right-wing media universe. He has assailed the Russia probe. He has talked a big game about cracking down on Antifa. He has sharply criticized the news media. On and on it goes.
But his celebrity status took a hit on Tuesday when he undercut President Trump’s brazenly false contention that there was massive voter fraud in the 2020 election. Speaking to the Associated Press, Barr said that, “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”
The statement from Barr, which merely recited a simple fact, not only cut against what Trump has been saying, but also what Trump’s propagandists and allies in right-wing media have been feeding their audiences. For weeks, these media personalities have strung their audiences along, suggesting that damning proof of fraud was just around the corner. Which is why the comment from Barr stung so bad.
The comment effectively forced these right-wing stars to pick between acknowledging the reality Barr laid out or continuing Trump’s fantasy. Trump’s most devoted propagandists chose the latter. And so they started to throw Barr under the bus, just as they’ve done with every other conservative who has dared to contradict the president. (Think about how former conservative stars such as Jeff Sessions, Justin Amash, Paul Ryan, and others were treated when they didn’t blindly oblige Trump’s demands.)

“A liar or a fool or both”

Fox Business host Lou Dobbs, whose conspiratorial program is a favorite of the president, attacked Barr in brutal terms on his show. “For the attorney general of the United States to make that statement — he is either a liar or a fool or both,” Dobbs said. Dobbs then went further, suggesting Barr was “perhaps compromised.” He characterized Barr as having “appeared to join in with the radical Dems and the deep-state and the resistance.”
Dobbs wasn’t the only one. Newsmax host Greg Kelly, who has risen to fame in right-wing media circles in the last few weeks for suggesting Trump could emerge as the winner of the election, went after Barr on his show. “Some of us are wondering if he is a warrior with the Constitution or if he’s just a bureaucrat,” Kelly said. Kelly added that he “can’t believe” if Barr “looked for voter fraud he wouldn’t find any.” And Mark Levin said he “regret[ted] to say” that Barr’s comments were “misleading.”
The far-right blogs were even harsher. The Gateway Pundit, a fringe website which Trump has repeatedly promoted, published a post that said Barr had revealed himself as “totally deaf, dumb and blind.” The post went on to say that Barr’s “masquerade as someone opposed to the criminality of the Deep State” had been “exposed as a venal lie” and that he was a “fraud.” It concluded, “You either fix the damn corrupt system or we will abandon you…Our days of tolerating betrayal are over.”

Some hold fire

While Barr faced strong criticism from some notable names in right-wing media, others refrained from attacking him on Tuesday night. Notably, heavyweights Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity didn’t skewer the AG. It will be interesting over the next 24 hours if this anti-Barr narrative takes greater hold in the Trump-friendly media, or if it dissipates.

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Trump threatens defence veto over social media protections – BarrieToday

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is threatening to veto a defence policy bill unless it ends protections for internet companies that shield them from being held liable for material posted by their users.

On Twitter Tuesday night, Trump took aim at Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which protects companies that can host trillions of messages from being sued into oblivion by anyone who feels wronged by something someone else has posted — whether their complaint is legitimate or not.

Trump called Section 230 “a serious threat to our National Security & Election Integrity,” adding, “Therefore, if the very dangerous & unfair Section 230 is not completely terminated as part of the National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA), I will be forced to unequivocally VETO the Bill.”

Trump has been waging war against social media companies for months, claiming they are biased against conservative voices.

In October he signed an executive order directing executive branch agencies to ask independent rule-making agencies, including the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission, to study whether they can place new regulations on the companies.

Since losing the presidential election, Trump has flooded social media with unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. Twitter has tagged many such Trump tweets with the advisory, “This claim about election fraud is disputed.”

Tuesday’s veto threat is another potential roadblock for the passage of the annual defence policy measure, which is already being held up in Congress by a spat over military bases named for Confederate officers. The measure, which has passed for 59 years in a row on a bipartisan basis, guides Pentagon policy and cements decisions about troop levels, new weapons systems and military readiness, military personnel policy and other military goals.

The Associated Press

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