Have you ever been concerned about these messages while browsing a website? In this article, you’ll learn why those notifications come up and what risks you are being exposed to.
If you own a website that doesn’t show up as Secure, keep reading to find out how to fix this.
Let’s get technical… HTTP vs HTTPS
HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol, which is basically the way over which data is sent between your browser and the website you are connected to. The S at the end of HTTPS stands for Secure. This means that all the information shared between your browser and that website is encrypted. The technology that powers that little S is called SSL, which stands for Secure Sockets Layer.
Back in the 90s, HTTP was a very powerful tool that the first network administrators designed to standardise the communications between users and servers, but once everyone knew how to exchange information, intercepting that information was not difficult. So, the administrators agreed that they needed to protect all the information on the internet and created the HTTPS protocol.
HTTPS automatically encrypts (encodes) the communications in a way that only the server and the user can understand them. The computer at each end uses a document called an SSL Certificate containing character strings that are the keys to the codes, preventing “man-in-the-middle attacks”.
Nowadays, HTTPS is often used to protect highly confidential online transactions like online banking and online shopping order forms.
What to do
If you find the Not Secure message in e-commerce or online banking sites, this means that your credit card details, passwords, address, and any personal information will be sent as plain text -not encrypted- and will be vulnerable to attacks and could be stolen. In these cases, we suggest that you don’t enter sensitive details.
On some sites, you can visit a more secure version of the page by replacing http:// with https://. If that doesn't work, contact the site owner to ask that they secure the site and your data with HTTPS.
Why should website owners go HTTPS?
If you own an unsecure website, you’re not only exposing your customers to attacks but damaging your brand’s reputation. Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer / Microsoft Edge are adding more visible signs when a website isn’t secure. Potentially you are losing customers as you are positioning your website as a dangerous place to buy/leave details.
Appear higher in Google’s search results
In 2014, Google announced that going HTTPS -adding an SSL certificate to your website- would have a slight ranking boost over HTTP ones.
Fix it! - How to go HTTPS
Getting an SSL Certificate on your website will fix all of the above problems. Search engines will recognise that you care about security and they will rank you higher in organic search results, browsers will show a secure green lock icon next to your domain name (just like our site), and anything your visitors send or receive through your site will be protected from anyone trying to read it.
Get in touch with your web hosting provider if you would like to secure your website. Not sure who that might be?