Continuing with the safety theme of the past couple weeks, I’d like to highlight an upcoming issue that is taking the web by storm.
As mentioned in previous blog posts, the safest way to browse the web is on websites that use the HTTPS prefix. Netscape Communications came up with HTTPS for its 1994 Netscape Navigator web browser. In 2000, HTTPS gained recognition and received full documentation by The Internet Society. HTTPS was mainly created to prevent wiretapping and hackers from stealing information while it was free floating in the internet, presumably in the middle of a transaction.
According to trustworthyinternet.org, about 25% of all websites are currently configured to use secure servers and the HTTPS prefix. HTTPS provides encryption and authentication of a web site, meaning you know you are on the website you mean to be on, not an imposter site, and all information you enter on that website will be safe from hackers. Many websites that use HTTPS are ones such as stores and retailers that require secure transactions with credit cards. As a side note, never enter your credit card information on a website that doesn’t use HTTPS – there’s the potential someone could intercept your information on its way to the website’s servers. But now, many websites are employing HTTPS as a means of securing identity profiles (such as Facebook) and various accounts, as well as keeping web browsing private.
As the world becomes more conscious about security measures, especially those online, HTTPS will become more and more common. Large companies and brands, such as Facebook, have already started to make the switch on their websites. Additionally, many other forms of encryption are taking place on smartphones and tablets, and the web is next.
In fact, Google recently changed their search algorithm to prefer HTTPS webpages over HTTP pages, which affects all websites that might appear in a result. HTTPS is the new standard of web design, and many websites will be redesigned to reflect the demand for secure online browsing. In fact, HTTPS only works if an entire website uses the HTTPS prefix; whole sites will need to be overhauled, or else are left vulnerable to attacks through backdoor, unsecure web pages attached to their site. With more preference being given to secure websites, and a change in unofficial web standards, now is a good time to reflect on whether your website is HTTP Secure (HTTPS). If not, it might be in your company’s and your customers’ best interest to change the means of how your website communicates its information.