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The world is moving towards more secure web, leaving behind HTTP and adopting HTTPS, where ‘S’ stands for secure. In other words, HTTPS is the secure version of Hyper Text Transfer Protocol(HTTP) used to connect your browser to websites.
You surely have observed a lock icon in the address bar of your web browser when you try connecting to your bank website. This lock icon symbolizes that the website is completely secure and the data transferred between your web browser and that website is encrypted. You may have also seen this lock icon on the right side of the address bar when you are using e-commerce websites like Amazon or social networking websites like Facebook.
Is HTTP Unsecure?
If you are just reading some editorial content or stories then it doesn’t matter much if you are on the website with HTTPS or not. But if you are on the website that asks you to submit sensitive information or online forms then you need to be concerned about HTTPS. Why? Let’s discuss in detail.
When the web browser connects to a website with HTTP then it looks for the IP address of that website and establish a connection. It does not verify that whether you are connected to the website you intend to or not. Just say for example you tried connecting to your bank but end up in connecting to a compromised website. Scary, Isn’t it?
Moreover, if you are on website with HTTP only then the data sent and received will be just in form of clear text. This means anyone on same WiFi network, the ISP which provides you the Internet services and authorized intelligence agencies can not only track the websites you are visiting but also the data you are sending and receiving.
Shocked! You need to be.
Is HTTPS Secure?
Yeah, obviously HTTPS is secure as compared to HTTP, as HTTPS connections are encrypted. When your web browser tries connecting you to website with HTTPS then before it establishes the connection it looks for the security certificate possessed by the website and verifies that whether it is provided by a genuine security certificate issuing authority or not.
When your web browser makes a connection with a website and you see https://www then it means that you are connected to the real website not an imposter. Now the information which you send across cannot be spied by the snoopers. Then it maybe your passwords, username, banking information or any other sensitive information, its safe.
Why is HTTPS Connection Considered a Secure Way to Surf?
HTTPS which was formerly only associated with the websites that asked for user’s information like user name, user id, password is now expanding itself.
There are many countries in the world that do not impose restrictions on the Internet service provider to spy on the browsing activities of their users. Now, if you are connected to website with HTTPs then your ISP cannot collect the information regarding the individual webpages you are visiting. This means your web activities are now more secure, and who doesn’t wish to be secure and protected.
If you dig in deep you will find that on an HTTP connection your ISP not only snoops on your web browsing but can also add, remove or edit the content of a particular webpage. This method is basically used for inserting an advertisement on the web pages that you often visit. But if you are on HTTPS secure website your ISP cannot alter the content on the webpage.
You may have seen that the simple search page of Google i.e. https://www.google.com/ also contains a lock icon and is HTTPS secure. Now eavesdropper can no more see what you are searching for on the search engine. Earlier if someone on the same network or your ISP could easily see your searches over Google search.
Also Read: Nine Ways to Improve Cyber Security
It also provides additional privacy for normal web browsing, too. For example, Google’s search engine now defaults to HTTPS connections. This means that people can’t see what you’re searching for on Google.com. The same goes for Wikipedia and other sites. Previously, anyone on the same Wi-Fi network would be see your searches, as would your Internet service provider.
Now the latest versions of all the latest web browsers like Chrome, Firefox displays a warning notification when you are connecting to website using HTTP.
So, guys, to wrap things up always watch for the padlock icon on the address bar before connecting to any websites, as it will help all your data to keep secure and encrypted. If any website that is not HTTPS secure and is asking for submission of sensitive information like your credentials, then it is advisable to leave that website.