Unencrypted websites, Google chrome 56, HTTS, HTTP

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Most people hardly care if the website they visit is secure or not. Hardly anybody looks at the url of each website to know if they are going into a secure site or not. But as from January next year, Google is going to make users of Chrome browser aware of that fact.

Unencrypted websites, Google chrome 56, HTTS, HTTP
Google Chrome

From January, any website or blog that does not add encryption to better protect users is going to be flagged by Chrome 56 as being unsecured.

What Chrome is saying is that all websites should move from HTTP to the more secured and encrypted HTTPS. Google is using the fact that Chrome is the most popular browser to enforce this new rule on website owners.

I assume it is going to be a tad uncomfortable to have a website flagged as unsecured with a damming red triangle for all to see. Seeing that sort of sign on a website would give visitors a rethink about going to that website again.

Unencrypted websites, Google chrome 56, HTTS, HTTP
Unencrypted website

For owners of websites who still use the unencrypted HTTP as part of their url, this is a wake up call to change to encryption.

Chrome 53 was released just last week with new security features and bug fixes. However, it seems  Chrome 53 is not going to be around for long as the Chrome 56 takes over in January as the latest browser from Google.

Google would use the Chrome 56 to start implementing the security features for all websites. Basically, websites still unencrypted have four months to change to encrypted platform or suffer the humiliation of having their websites called out for being a risky place to visit.

Unencrypted websites, Google chrome 56, HTTS, HTTP
Warning for unsecured websites as from January 2017

Anyway you look at it, this is a good move from Google. This year has seen a rash of hackings from individuals and groups intent on stealing people’s account details. It is well known that one of the best way hackers gain entry into our computers is through unencrypted websites.

When Google implements this by next year, a combination of the security measures (like two-factor authentication)  we can use to secure our account details and encrypted websites would make it doubly difficult for hackers to gain access to our systems. Not impossible, but more difficult.

Emily Schechter of Chrome Security said it all when she made the disclosure in  a blog post:

To help users browse the web safely, Chrome indicates connection security with an icon in the address bar. Historically, Chrome has not explicitly labelled HTTP connections as non-secure. Beginning in January 2017 (Chrome 56), we’ll mark HTTP sites that transmit passwords or credit cards as non-secure, as part of a long-term plan to mark all HTTP sites as non-secure.

Chrome currently indicates HTTP connections with a neutral indicator. This doesn’t reflect the true lack of security for HTTP connections. When you load a website over HTTP, someone else on the network can look at or modify the site before it gets to you.
 A substantial portion of web traffic has transitioned to HTTPS so far, and HTTPS usage is consistently increasing. We recently hit a milestone with more than half of Chrome desktop page loads now served over HTTPS. In addition, since the time we released our HTTPS report in February, 12 more of the top 100 websites have changed their serving default from HTTP to HTTPS.”
Unencrypted websites, Google chrome 56, HTTS, HTTP
Warning for unsecured websites with passwords or credit card fields from January 2017

Here is a thought: with Chrome insisting on encrypted websites by January, it is just a matter of time before other browsers see the wisdom of following suit.

I’d love it if my favorite Firefox browser does the same thing too asap. Though it would look like a copy-cat move, that won’t matter because almost all tech firms steal good ideas from one another.

In the final analysis a secure internet is the important thing for everybody. Or how about some browser stealing the thunder from Chrome and implementing the feature before January?


image credit: tinycent.com; pcworld.com; Google