You can look for the stalwart lock icon in the address or status bar of your browser, as well as other visual queues, such as a partially- or fully-colored address bar, to determine if the site is secure. Clicking the icon presents detailed security information in most browsers.
However, there is no reason to use http over https for a secure website, and such is typically not supported. I would wonder if they are actually using a standard SSL/TLS implementation or if they're using a homegrown method of encryption, or none at all.
See what, if any, security your browser reports, but I doubt the secure site is properly configured.
(I'm not a web developer, so my knowledge in this area is very limited).
I'm doing some non-web work for a company, but, to access resources, they require me to log in using a username and password. The URL, though, begins with "http" and not "https" When I queried this, they told me that their http address _does_ use secure logins, it just doesn't show the "s" in the URL.
So, two questions:
1. Why would anyone want to do this?
2. Is there anyway that I, as a normal user, can confirm this? (i.e. that I'm sending confidential information through some sort of SSL?).