What is HTTPS?
Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is the secure version of the standard Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) originally created in 1994 for the Netscape Navigator web browser. HTTPS is extensively used to secure connection over the internet. It protects data between a website and a visitor.
HTTPS is secured by a Transport Layer Security protocol (TLS) that provides several layers of protection.
- It encrypts data exchanged between a site and a visitor.
- It cannot be corrupted by outsiders without being detected.
- It helps visitors know that they are on the site they intended to visit.
Domain Validation (DV), Organization Validation (OV) and Extended validation (EV) are types of Secure Socket Layer (SSL) Certificates that must be obtained to enable HTTPS on your website. The security certificate is issued by a certificate authority (CA) that verifies you or your organization as the owner of the site.
Among the different types of SSL Certificates is the Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificate. It is a certificate that enables the green bar in the address bar. An EV Certificate is strengthened for security. It makes your website instantly recognizable and gives visitors assurance that your website is trustworthy. It is mostly used by e-commerce websites to combat phishing attacks and make customers feel safe.
The strongest and most recommended certificate is one with a 2048-bit root key. A 2048-bit SSL Certificate provides the highest levels of encryption and authentication. It is harder to crack than others and ensures that only the intended recipient can access the information sent.
HTTPS is very important for your website for many reasons. It is beneficial to you as a website owner and to your website visitors.
HTTPS protects your visitor’s privacy
HTTP activity is not secure. Communications sent over HTTP connections are in plain text and they can be read by anyone on the same network. ISPs, schools, hotels, and other establishments can also see data over an unsecured HTTP connection and they can use it to their own advantage. To make matters worse, attackers can exploit HTTP connections to gather sensitive information and install malware.
HTTPS protects your visitor’s privacy by encrypting data in transit. Encryption established by HTTPS prevents intruders from intercepting your visitor’s information such as credit card numbers, names, comments, and other data they might submit.
HTTPS stops ISPs from displaying ads on your site
As previously mentioned, ISPs can see data over an unsecured HTTP connection. Although an ISP might be legitimate, it can also be intrusive and seek to display advertisements to their customers. Advertisements shown by an ISP can be displayed on your site if it is not secure with HTTPS. This is called code injection and it can hurt your online business by taking clicks away from your content and own advertisements.
HTTPS will prevent ISPs from gathering information and injecting advertisements into your website.
HTTPS will be a requirement in the future
HTTPS is not just for online stores and banks anymore. HTTPS is the future and all websites will be left in the dust if they don’t play along.
The most popular Internet Browser in the world, Google Chrome, is requiring websites to use a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) Certificate to boost search rank and be represented as secure to visitors. Without an SSL Certificate, your website will be branded “Not Secure” in the address bar and this can hurt your website’s integrity and make you lose visitors who feel that it’s not safe to visit your site.
HTTPS is also required by many new web APIs, web applications, and web platform features such as audio and video recording.
About Sean Doyle
Sean Doyle has been involved in the cybersecurity industry for many years and has written for several publications. Twitter: @Botcrawl