As with all good things, the internet has a down side. Along with the convenience of access to information, shopping from your armchair, entertainment on demand, etc., there are horror stories going around about identity theft, data breaches, hacking and the rest. Internet users are, understandably, wary.
Google, the world’s preferred search engine, has brought matters to a head when it comes to website security. In a push to force website owners to reassure users that the information they enter when logging in or when making purchases can not be intercepted, Google has used all it’s might to ‘flag’ insecure sites. The impact has been significant for both internet users and website owners.
Visitors – Don’t panic!
Despite the somewhat dramatic notice that may be displayed, there is no need for concern while visiting insecure sites until you enter sensitive information. That is, passwords, usernames, personally identifying or payment information. If you are intend to log in or purchase, be sure to check the page is secure before proceeding.
Site owners – Don’t panic
It has been some months since Google rolled out the update to the Chrome browser that made plain whether the page you view has a secure connection or not. Other browsers have followed suit to a degree. As I mention above, as long as the content is freely available, i.e. the user is not required to log in to access it, visitors should not be alarmed.
That said, and in the context of alarming security-related news stories, many users will be spooked into seeking to access the product, service or information from another source. A source that displays the reassuring padlock in the address bar. This is indeed advisable if they are passing sensitive information to the web page.
If you’re site requires users to register, log in or make purchase, you will probably have noticed a worrying dip in activity.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)
Here’s the thing. Google has driven us into a new era. Now, all sites (should) be built with basic security as standard. Regardless of whether ‘sensitive’ information is passed to any of it’s pages. So, get with the programme.
Most of you will have your website ‘hosted’ through GoDaddy or whatever. Your provider will now be offering hosting packages which include SSL. Secure Sockets Layer is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between their web server and a visitor’s browser. Great if you’re starting up now but if your already up and running, you have to add it to your existing package. The process differs from provider to provider and can be completed in under 48 hours in some cases.