How to Recognize An Unsafe or Hacked Website

Almost all of us have run into a problem where we don’t know why our computer isn’t operating the way it should be. After doing some research, we find out that we’ve gotten hacked or have been infected with a virus. Then, you’re left wondering how that could happen. Every website you go to says that it’s secure, and browsers like Google Chrome confirm that, and you make sure to never open anything from an unknown email address.

So how does this happen? There are way more websites out there than you might think that are unsafe or hacked, and they can cause harm to your computer and your personal information. Before you click on any webpage, there are some surefire ways to spot a harmful site. Here are five tips on recognizing websites that have been compromised.

Respect the S

There was a time when we would all just blindly go to any website that started its URL with HTTP. These days, you want to make sure that every website you visit instead starts with HTTPS. What’s the difference between the two? 

HTTPS is the same thing, except it has an extra layer of encryption that makes sure that your data is more secure. The ‘S’ stands for secure, simply enough, and most websites have made the switch in recent years to avoid data breaches.

Keep Looking at the URL

The “HTTPS” at the beginning of the URL isn’t the only thing that you should be looking for. There are a lot of people who end up typing in the wrong web address when they’re moving too fast in their browser’s address bar and still hit enter. 

This can lead you to a similar-looking website that’s not actually safe. If you’re looking for sports scores and accidentally stumble on instead of, you might get something that looks legit but is actually a harmful website.


Almost all of these fake or unsafe websites have store options, but you can spot which ones aren’t legitimate by the ways that you can pay. The safest ways you can pay online are through sites like PayPal or via credit card. Fake websites won’t be likely to accept credit cards since they can easily be hit with a chargeback as credit card protection is more stringent than debit card protection.

If there is a website that only accepts mailed payments or money orders, that’s a massive red flag to stay away from that website and block it from your browser forever. Even some sites that look shady can be legitimate because they accept encrypted payments, allowing your payment information to remain safe.

Trust the Chrome

Over the years, Google Chrome surpassed all of the other web browsers to become the most commonly used in the world. These days, around two-thirds of computer users trust Chrome, and for good reason. Not only does it have a very user-friendly interface, but it has plenty of extension options that make the browsing experience much better.

One thing that not many people consider when using Chrome is that it adds a lot of layers of protection. Whenever you’re about to visit a site that seems unsafe or hacked, Chrome will offer up a warning. In most cases, you can still surpass Chrome’s suggestion, but there are other times when the browser simply won’t allow you to continue. It’s best to heed Chrome’s warning when it does come up.


There are plenty of legitimate websites that look like they were designed back in the Angelfire days (looking at you, Wikipedia). However, most of them that are completely dated and look like they have no HTML arrangement whatsoever and can hardly be trusted. Any legitimate website will make sure that there’s a web designer to make sure everything looks up to date.

They say that you should never judge a book by its cover, but that mostly applies to books themselves or human beings. When it comes to websites, though, image is everything for legit businesses, and they wouldn’t allow a shady-looking website to go live.

Bonus Tip: Email Links

Another thing that you should look out for is your email inbox. Instead of clicking on a link that you receive in an email, always make sure to type in a web address yourself. This will ensure that you’re not going to any harmful websites as there are plenty of virus-filled emails that look authentic. If you have any doubt whatsoever about the validity of an email, it’s best to just delete it and move on with your day instead of putting your computer and private info at risk.

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