HTTP, one of the technologies that’s made the World Wide Web work since Tim Berners-Lee invented the web more than 25 years ago, is about to get a big black mark by its name, thanks to Google’s Chrome web browser. The Hypertext Transfer Protocol lets your web browser fetch a web page from the server that hosts it. HTTP has had a good run, but it has a problem: It doesn’t protect communications with encryption that blocks eavesdropping and tampering. That’s why Google, Mozilla and other tech industry allies have been pushing websites everywhere to switch to the secure version called HTTPS. And it’s why, starting with the release of Chrome 68 on Tuesday, Google’s browser will warn you whenever it loads an unencrypted website with HTTP. Chrome will show the words “not secure” next to the website in the address bar if it’s not encrypted. It’s a pretty open-ended warning, but you probably don’t need to panic if you see it. It’s far more likely to mean that it’s time for website operators to update their sites than it is an alert somebody is trying to do something nefarious with your personal information. But that doesn’t mean you should be complacent. Online privacy is in short supply, as revelations from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and scandals like Cambridge Analytica show. Even passive monitoring of unencrypted web traffic, while less severe than attacks that can steal your password, can reveal a lot about you. Chrome has a lot of… [Read full story]
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