Downloading from trusted sources


Close lesson
You have completed 0%

Downloading from trusted sources

computer with a shield displayed on the screen

What's coming up?

In this activity, we're going to focus on trust. We'll explain why trust is important online, and how you can tell if a site can be trusted.

You'll learn about the importance of only downloading files from trusted sites.

Start activity

Trusted sites

The most important thing when getting documents and photos from the internet is to download from a trusted site.

There are some websites that you should be able to trust. Major organisations, like your bank, insurance company, or the government can generally be trusted, so anything you download from them should be safe.

a list of trusted sites and a download icon
a bank statement

Visiting a company’s website

When using a company website, it's very important to make sure it's the authentic site for that company. For example, if you are using your bank's website for the first time, it's safest to find the correct web address from a statement or other piece of official bank correspondence. Alternatively, you can phone your bank or pop into a local branch and ask them to provide the correct web address.

a locked padlock

eSafety tip

While you can search for a company’s site on a search engine, it's less safe to do so as there are a lot of fake websites around that look very convincing. Some fake web addresses might only differ from the real address by a single letter, so it pays to be very careful and double check that the address is correct.

But what about other websites?

If you're not sure about a website, the best thing to do is not download anything from it. However, if a site has something you do want to download, there are some things you can check to see how trustworthy a site is.

a download icon on a laptop and a warning sign
a locked padlock

Look for the padlock and https://

If you want to download something from a website, but you’re unsure about the safety of the site, you can look at the web address that appears in the search bar of your web browser.

The address shows the current site you are viewing. If the page shows a padlock symbol and the address includes https://, this is a good sign that the site is authentic.

Where is the little padlock on a web page?

On most browsers, you will see a little padlock symbol to the left of the website address in your web browser’s search bar. The padlock can be grey/black or, for some browsers, green or just a black outline.

a web URL with a locked padlock next to it
a secure connection and a locked padlock

What does the padlock mean?

The padlock is the web browser's symbol that indicates your connection to the site has some extra precautions. You can click on the padlock to view the Site information panel which contains information about the connection's security certification.

If there is a warning symbol over the padlock or a red line through it, your web browser has detected that the site may be unsafe to use. You should not proceed any further, but close the browser. You can then open the browser again and find a different website to browse.

a locked padlock

eSafety tip

To make sure you have the most up-to-date protection from your web browser, it's important to keep your device's operating software and the browser app up to date. This helps ensure that your browser has the most recent information about online threats and can alert you to dangerous sites so you can avoid them. It's best to set your device so that this software is updated automatically.

What else does the padlock mean?

The padlock can also indicate that what you do on the website is private, which is important if you are using passwords and making payments. But to be certain, you must also check the web address is authentic and that it contains https://.

a shield and https://
https:// and the word secure

What is https://?

Website addresses always start with http:// or https://. The s in https actually stands for secure. If you see https://, the website connection is encrypted, so that data sent to and from the website cannot be intercepted and used by hackers or other unwanted third parties.

For example, if you are using a website for shopping, it's essential that the web address starts with https:// so that any delivery address or credit card details you enter are protected.

Look for https://

You can check for https:// in the address bar of your web browser. Some browsers only show a simplified address. To check those ones, click on the address. You may need to click twice. You will then see https:// or http:// at the start of the web address.

Even if a website uses https://, double-check its web address. Fake websites can try to trick you by using the name of a popular site, such as your bank or social media site, but include unfamiliar dashes, dots and words in the address.

a real website and a hoax website
the contact us icon and a mouse pointer

Find the Contact page

You could also look for a Contact page on the website. A link to the Contact page will sometimes be at the top of the page, or, on some websites, be right down the bottom of the website's home page. If the website doesn't have a Contact page listed anywhere, it's probably not a site you should trust.

Your four-question checklist

If you’re ever unsure about whether you can trust a website, remember to ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do I know the organisation personally?
  2. Does their website have a padlock next to the web address?
  3. Does their web address start with https://?
  4. Does their site have a Contact page?

Keep these questions in mind and downloading from the internet will be much safer for you.

a person, a locked padklock, a phone and the https://

Well done!

Now that you've finished the Download from trusted sources activity, you'll know that there are some simple checks you can make to see if a website can be trusted.

In the next activity, Protecting yourself from a virus, we'll look at how to guard against accidentally downloading something from an unsafe website.

a thumbs up