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Stay Safe Online: The Importance of HTTPS and SSL Encryption

The internet has revolutionised the way we communicate, work, and shop. As we rely more on online services, it's critical to take steps to ensure our online activities are secure. One of the ways we can protect ourselves is by using HTTPS.

In this article, we'll discuss what HTTPS is, why it's important, and how to spot a website that isn't secure.

What is HTTPS?

HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. It's a protocol used to encrypt and secure communication between a website and a user's browser. HTTPS works by adding an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or TLS (Transport Layer Security) layer to the HTTP protocol.

This creates a secure channel between the website and the user's browser, ensuring that any information sent between the two is encrypted and can't be intercepted by a third party.

Why is SSL important?

SSL is essential because it helps prevent attacks that intercept and steal data that are sent between a website and a user's browser. This type of attack is known as a 'man-in-the-middle' attack, and it's a prevalent form of cyber attack.

By encrypting the communication between the website and the user's browser, SSL ensures that any data exchanged between the two is protected from prying eyes.

Additionally, using SSL helps to establish trust with your website's visitors. When a user sees the padlock icon or green address bar in their browser, they know that the website they're visiting is secure and trustworthy. This can help increase user confidence and reduce bounce rates.

How to spot a website that isn't secure?

There are several ways to spot a website that isn't secure.

One of the most obvious is if the website's URL starts with "HTTP" instead of "HTTPS."

If a website isn't using HTTPS, it means that the communication between the website and the user's browser isn't encrypted, leaving any data exchanged between the two vulnerable to interception.

Another way to tell if a website is secure is by looking for a padlock icon or green address bar in your browser. These icons indicate that the website is using SSL, and any data exchanged between the website and your browser is encrypted and secure.

Finally, if your browser displays a warning message that the website you're visiting may be insecure, it's best to err on the side of caution and avoid the site.

padlock or not

What to do if you come across a website that isn't secure?

If you come across a website that isn't secure, it's best to avoid it. If you need to enter any sensitive information, such as credit card details or personal information, only do so if you're certain that the website is secure.

Additionally, if you receive any warning messages from your browser, don't ignore them. These warnings are designed to protect you from potential security threats, and ignoring them could put your personal information at risk.

Conclusion

In conclusion, HTTPS is an essential protocol that helps keep our online activities secure. By encrypting the communication between a website and a user's browser, SSL helps prevent attacks that intercept and steal sensitive data.

If you come across a website that isn't using HTTPS, it's best to avoid it. By taking steps to protect ourselves online, we can enjoy the many benefits of the internet while minimising the risks.

Cyber Heroes will continue to keep you safe online by regularly publishing new cybersecurity training articles.