Spot Suspicious Websites with the Help of a Browser Extension
For years we’ve tried to teach people about website URLs and domains. It’s a bit difficult to understand, even for people who are in tech but not necessarily web developers. And yet, it’s crucial in phishing awareness. People are directed to falsified websites where their login credentials or other personal information is stolen. They’re getting hoodwinked by URL look-a-likes, even when they understand the importance of glancing at the URL!
How do you know where you are on the internet or where you want to be?
You might use a search engine and select the result title that appears to be what you’re looking for. Maybe the webpage has the a familiar logo or other trait (layout and graphics). Perhaps you clicked a link in an email or text message that appears to be from someone you know.
Unfortunately, the rise of phishing websites means you can’t take these actions safely anymore. These actions may bring you to an imposter website that’s run by criminals trying to steal your credit card number, account login, or other personal details. This imposter website may even allow access to your computer.
What is the traditional advice in cyber awareness? Hover on the link. Look at the web address. Make sure the domain is legit. Look for a padlock. Phew! That’s a lot to remember, and in the case of TLS certificates, it’s outdated advice. All of this advice is unhelpful if you don’t know what you’re looking for anyway.
We’ve come up with a solution: a browser extension that displays the website you’re visiting without all of the extra parts of the URL. Reading your favorite blog on medium? It shows you’re on medium dot com. Watching videos on YouTube? It shows you’re on youtube dot com.
Our goal with this browser extension is to provide the missing tidbit that users have been expected to figure out on their own: recognition of a legitimate website by its address (domain).
After installing the extension, users will see that they’re visiting my normal bank dot com. It may be the first time they’ve ever really noticed. Tomorrow, the next day, next month, they will see it again and again. It becomes familiar. Finally, one day they click on an emailed link that leads to an imposter site. This time, a different site pops up in the browser extension. Our hope is they think twice and don’t input any information into the website!
Why can’t this extension tell you when you’re on an imposter site and block it automatically? Well, the internet is constantly changing. An imposter website that pops up today may be gone tomorrow. Companies are also expanding their brands and picking up new internet property frequently. This browser extension has ONE JOB: display the website to create awareness and familiarity with where you are on the web. That’s it. Best of all, it’s FREE. We encourage you to install it for people who you think need it. (Hint: It’s almost everyone.) Have them watch this helpful intro video.
You can find it for Chrome in the Chrome Web Store and coming soon for Firefox.