Thursday, December 11, 2014

Using HTTPS to become Secure Online

Have you ever heard stories about peoples credit card information being stolen? Well one way this could happen is the way your computer connects to a web server that host the store you are buying from, like Amazon. When you open your web browser and it connect to a website there are two ways that your computer makes a connection, HTTP and HTTPS. HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, but that isn't important, what is important is what it does. HTTP is the core code of the internet, this blog your reading right now is at its core encoded by the HTTP format. So what makes HTTP different from HTTPS? Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) was invented to prevent wiretapping and man-in-the-middle attacks. Now I'm going to assume most of my readers know what wiretapping is but some of you might not know what a man-in-the-middle attack is. So lets say you are at Starbucks and you are sitting in one of those nice chairs and doing some shopping on your laptop. Well without HTTPS, that guy sitting on the other side of the room could read and see not only your credit card information but anything you do online. HTTPS encrypts the data before it leaves your computer. This way anyone between you and the web server (store) can't see any of the data or information. Hence preventing a man-in-the-middle attack. Now most websites that you visit today will automatically tell your web browser to connect using HTTPS, but not all. So my solution? There is an extension for your web browser that is produced by the Electronic Frontier Foundation that is called HTTPS Everywhere. The propose of this software is to essentially, if possible force your computer to use HTTPS and encrypt your data. So go check out this software and give it a try.

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