Lesson 11   Security Online

Feeling Insecure?
Note: Security on the Internet is actually a very big topic area, however, for the purposes of this basic level module, we will only be covering a small portion of that information.

       One of the exciting new uses of the Web is online business. There are Web pages where you can order goods and services online, but ordering from many of these sites requires sending them your credit card number or other personal information over the Web. Or you may want to fill out an online survey, but you don't want anyone else to read your responses. If the site isn't secure, this information can be intercepted by others. This lesson will teach you how to determine if a site is secure.

       Look at the bottom of the page you have open. In Netscape, at the far left side of the status bar, there is a key or lock icon. If the key is broken, or the lock is open, the site is not secure. Data requested from this site could be intercepted and read, however, keep in mind that most of the time, you are not inserting sensitive information on a web page.

Practice Exercise 1:

       To see what a secure site looks like, open the following web page:

Future Card - VISA This is the address to apply for a Visa credit card. Notice the key is still broken (or the lock open).

Click on the hyperlink APPLY. You will get a warning dialog box titled Security Information. It states that you have "requested a secure document". Click on Continue. Notice that the key is now solid (or the lock is locked) signifying that this is a secure, encrypted site, meaning the information cannot be intercepted by others.

Here you have the option of going on or returning to another site. For this lesson, type in a different address or use your bookmarks to go to another site.

If the site you connect to next does not use security (most don't) you'll see a message letting you know that you are leaving a secure area. Just click Continue.

Before submitting personal information on a web site, you may want to check the site's security status.

Next: Performance Assessment Information
Previous: Lesson 10 - Printing
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