If you’ve never paid attention to the browser URL while surfing the internet, then you must start doing so today.
If you observe the prefix of each website URL, you’ll usually see either HTTP or HTTPS. One means that the site you are on is secure (HTTPS), while the other is not (HTTP).
Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) can be likened to the way servers and browsers talk to each other. this type of “computer language” is not encrypted. Every browser and server in the world speaks HTTP, so if an attacker managed to hack in, he could read everything going on in the browser, including that Facebook username and password you just typed in.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is another language, except this one is encrypted using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). Imagine if everyone in the world spoke English except two people who spoke Russian. If you happened to overhear them speaking in Russian, you wouldn’t understand them. It’s the same with HTTPS. If browsers use HTTPS to pass information, even if attackers manage to capture the data, they can’t read the information.
Does that mean HTTP websites are insecure?
Well, it depends. If you are just browsing the web, looking at random stuffs, HTTP is fine. However, if you’re logging into your bank or entering credit card information in a payment page, it’s imperative that URL is HTTPS. Otherwise, your sensitive data is at risk.
How can I make sure online information stays secure?
As a business: Work with a third party vendor to get an SSL certificate on your login and payment pages.
As a consumer: Don’t enter your sensitive information on pages that don’t have HTTPS.
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