It’s known as many things – HTTPS, the lock icon in the address bar, an encrypted website connection. Although it was once reserved primarily for passwords and other sensitive data, the entire web is gradually leaving HTTP behind and switching to HTTPS.
So what is HTTPS, exactly? The “S” in HTTPS stands for “Secure”. It’s the secure version of the standard “hypertext transfer protocol” your web browser uses when communicating with websites.
HTTP Puts You At Risk
When you connect your website with regular HTTP, your browser looks up the IP address that corresponds to the website, connects to that IP address and assumes it’s connected to the correct web server. Data is sent over the connection in clear text. An eavesdropper on a Wi-Fi network, your internet service provider or government intelligence agencies like the NSA can see the web pages you are visiting and the data you are transferring back and forth.
What is the problem with this? Well for one thing, there is no way to verify you are connected to the correct website. You think you accessed your bank’s website, but you are on a compromised network that’s redirecting you to an impostor website. Passwords and credit card numbers should never be sent over an HTTP connection, or an eavesdropper could easily steal them. These problems occur because HTTP connections are not encrypted. HTTPS connections are.
How HTTPS Encryption Protects You
When you connect to an HTTPS-secured server – secure sites will redirect you (automatically) to HTTPS – so when you want to login to your bank account online, you know you’re secure. Your web browser checks the website’s security certificate and verifies it was issued by a legitimate certificate authority. This is also where your IT team comes in handy because unfortunately, certificate authorities can actually issue bad certificates and the system breaks down if it is not monitored correctly.
No one can eavesdrop on your information when you send it over an HTTPS connection. HTTPS is what makes secure online banking and shopping possible! It also provides privacy for normal web browsing. Google’s search engine now defaults HTTPS connections which means people can’t see what you’re searching on Google.com. The same goes for Wikipedia and other sites. In the past, anyone on the same Wi-Fi network would be able to see your searches, including your Internet service provider.
Keep an Eye Out for Phishing Tricks
Clever phishers have found ways to disguise their websites because they know people now look for the HTTPS indicator and lock icon. Be wary and don’t click links in phishing emails or you may find yourself on a cleverly disguised page!
Do you have questions about HTTPS and how to make sure your business is secure from threats? We’re here to help! Contact us for additional information.
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Phillip Long – CISSP, CEO of BIS Technology Group, along with his team of marketing and information technology experts, will walk you through an overview of what your business should be doing to protect your data and plan your digital marketing strategies.
About BIS Technology Group
BIS Technology Group is the technology leader on the Gulf Coast and is comprised of four divisions: Information Technology, Web Design & Digital Marketing, Office Equipment and Business Consulting. Together these divisions help local businesses exceed expectations and allow them to group to their full potential while minimizing risks. To learn more about BIS Technology Group, visit bistechnologygroup.com.
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