Google’s push for more encryption on the web has started with Google Chrome 68, the latest version of Google’s web browser. It comes with a new feature that will list all non encrypted websites as “Not Secure”. This change to Google Chrome means that all HTTP sites will now show a “Not Secure” icon in the address bar for all Google Chrome users in attempt to encourage the use of HTTPS on websites over its insecure variant HTTP.
As Google Chrome is one of the most widely used browsers in the world, this change is likely to have a large impact on website owners and users alike. The advantage of this update to Google Chrome users is that anyone with the latest version of the browser will be able to easily and instantly identify whether the websites they access are secure. In theory, this should assist in keeping users safe during online activities by deterring them from using sites marked as “Not Secure”. Website owners will need to upgrade their websites from HTTP to HTTPS to prevent their websites being listed as “Not Secure” – in doing so, Google will place these websites higher on their search rankings just for being encrypted.
So, what is the difference between HTTP and HTTPS?
HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol and is the protocol that allows you to view and interact with websites. The problem with HTTP is that it’s non encrypted, meaning that all data sent between you and the website can be read in plain text by anyone who intercepts it. This is where HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) comes in; HTTPS ensures that all data exchanged between you and the website remains encrypted and is only readable by you and the website. For example: Login credentials sent over HTTP would appear as “Username:Password”, whereas over HTTPS they would look similar to “wcBMAwPaXWXY7j0”, rendering the information useless to anyone who intercepts it.