If you have recently visited an online store that you have trusted before but the little padlock on the bottom of the page that tells you that you can trust the site has gone chances are you’ve recently changed your browser to Firefox 4.
Firefox no longer uses the SSL Padlock icon
You will not see the padlock icon on the bottom of the Firefox 4 browser because, not only has the status bar at the bottom of the window disappeared by default, but the padlock has been replaced by something called the Site Identity Button.
the Mozilla Firefox site identity button
The Site Identity Button is a Firefox security feature that it is claimed gives you more information about the sites you visit. Using the Site Identity Button, you can find out if the website you are viewing is encrypted, if it is verified, who owns the website, and who verified it. This should help you avoid malicious websites that are trying to get you to provide important information.
When viewing a website, the Site Identity Button will display in one of three colors – grey, blue, or green. Fine if you can view web sites in colour. Clicking on the Site Identity Button will display security information about the website.
what the site identity button colours tell you
when the site identity button is grey
When the Site Identity button is grey, that indicates that the site doesn’t provide any identity information at all. Also, the connection between Firefox and the server is either unencrypted or only partially encrypted, and should not be considered safe against possible eavesdroppers.
You will find that most websites will be grey because they don’t need to pass sensitive information but do not enter information in to a website whilst the Site Identity Button is grey. You may find that the colour changes to blue only on pages that require you to enter information such as personal details or credit card details.
when the site identity button is blue
When the Site Identity button is blue, that indicates that the site’s domain has been verified, and the connection between Firefox and the server is encrypted and therefore protected against eavesdroppers.
It is safe to enter sensitive information on a blue website as you can be sure that the connection is encrypted and the website has a valid security certificate.
when the site identity button is green
If a site makes the Site Identity Button turn green, it means that it is using a new Extended Validation (EV) certificate. An EV certificate is a special type of site certificate that requires a significantly more rigorous identity verification process than other types of certificates. Sites that would require this level of verification are banks and payment gateways.
If you still want a padlock then you can have one
If you would feel happier seeing a padlock icon on your browser then you can with this addon that adds the padlock icon to Firefox 4. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/padlock-icon/
If you are still suspicious of a site then why not investigate the site using McAfee’s SiteAdvisor
McAfee SiteAdvisor tests websites daily for spyware, spam and scams so you can search, surf and shop more safely.
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