Understanding Secure Web Browsing
Many websites are moving to a more secure way to deliver their content. The main reason for this is due to the fact that Google is ranking websites higher if they are using a secure protocol. You may not even be aware that this is happening, but this is definitely a good thing, and something you should look for when browsing the internet.
When you look at the top of your browser window, you are generally met with a long string of letters and words more appropriately known as the URL for the web page you are currently looking at. URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator and acts as the address for the content the web page is showing you. When you type in a particular URL, the browser and the servers it interacts with locates this content and displays it for you to view.
The http at the beginning of the URL is an abbreviation for HyperText Transfer Protocol. This means that it is the rules your browser follows in order to translate code into text and images that look nice. When you see https that means the data is being transmitted through a secure connection that is encrypted instead of the standard method which sends the data as plain text.
If you are logging into a site that is not using https, anything you type in a field, including your username and password, would be transmitted as plain text. Anyone who knows how could intercept that data and use it to login to that site as you. This is especially worrisome for a banking website or other sensitive data you may be accessing.
A website that uses https also needs to have a certificate associated with their website. This allows for a verification procedure to take place, helping you know that the site you are accessing is legitimately from the company you are trying to view. It’s like checking the references for a new employee. Verification helps someone browsing the web to feel better about signing up for a service or logging into an account.
As you are browsing the web, make sure to pay attention to the URL and see if they are using a secure protocol. Many times your web browser will even warn you that you are not using a secure connection. Before you hit “proceed anyway” make sure you are ready for the consequences of your actions.
Eric is the owner and CEO of Protek Support and is a CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional). He graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Business with an emphasis in Information Technology (IT). He is an IT Services expert in a variety of technology related fields. Some of these fields include document management software/hardware, enterprise level networking and VoIP phone systems, as well as large scale software implementation projects and the setup of small business networks.