Internet security: Why it’s important and how to know if a website is safe

31 December 2021

The coronavirus pandemic and the global lockdown have created the perfect environment for scammers to take advantage of your hard-earned money. In fact, scamming trends were so rife in 2020 and 2021 that 2 in 5 South Africans said they received emails, SMSes and phony phone calls that were all attempted scams. Since we’re living our lives more online than ever, how can we protect our devices and our online activity? Best Internet shares the importance of internet security and how we can spot dodgy websites.

Why is internet security important?

Scammers and their antics are getting smarter and more professional looking, making these scams look more and more legit. Since the covid-19 pandemic began, TransUnion reported that 41% of South Africans were targeted with covid-related schemes that were fraudulent. Other schemes that increases over the last two years were phishing, fake insurance, OTP vishing, and fraudsters pretending to have money for you from a will.

As much as software programs have built-in security to protect our online activity, systems have bugs which can leave our personal data and information vulnerable. Your saved logins, banking information, personal documents and more can be left for scammers to get a hold of.

Four ways to know if a website is safe to visit

Look for the “https”
The easiest way to know if a website is safe is by looking at the URL. If it starts with “https”, which stands for “hypertext transfer protocol secure,” it means the website is protected and that the session between the web server and the browser is encrypted.

Details are important
If a website is littered with common spelling and grammar mistakes and if there are often pop-ups asking you to give your ID number, email address or phone number, it could be a dodgy website or a phishing kit pretending to be the website of a legitimate, existing website.

Look for reviews
If you’re booking a holiday, buying flights, buying a second hand item online, one of the best ways to know if you’re dealing with a trusted website or business is by looking at the world of online reviewers. Some people have made reviewing a full-on sport!

Look for contact info
This may seem like such a simple thing, but it goes a long way in certifying a business. There should be a “Contact Us” page with an email address, phone number and a physical address for a head office. You can also search for these on Google to see if they are real contacts.

Internet security on MacOS or Windows PC: Who’s better?

For many years, MacOS has had a reputation for being the superior one when it comes software security but according to a 2020 report by Malwarebytes, Mac had more malware attacks than Windows PC for the very first time since the two began competing.

There were two reasons for this: Firstly, more users joined Mac than Windows PC in 2018, statistically increasing the percentage of attacks on Mac. Secondly, Windows tightened security with developers, which has increased its trustworthiness and reliability.

Both software programs have their flaws and vulnerabilities and it’s up to you to decide which one works best for you. The good news is that there are many ways to upkeep your laptop or computer’s security by making sure the OS (operating system) is up to date, installing malware protection, and following the above tips on website safety.

Internet packages for the home

Protecting your online activity, saved logins and banking accounts is more important than ever. That’s why Best Internet only offers internet providers that have protected and private networks, designed for the home.

Browse and shop the best in internet service providers with Best Internet!