What is HTTPS and why should I care?

HTTPS Secure website

HTTPS is a form of website security. All HTTPS websites will display a lock icon in the address bar. While this was once primarily used for websites you needed to enter in passwords and other sensitive data, the entire web is gradually leaving HTTP behind and switching to HTTPS.

The “S” in HTTPS stands for “Secure”. It’s the secure version of the standard “hypertext transfer protocol” your web browser uses when communicating with websites.

Why you should avoid HTTP

When you connect to a website that uses the HTTP method, your browser looks up the IP address for the web server linked to the website and then connects to that IP address. The web browser assumes that you’ve connected to the correct web server.

Once connected data is then sent back and forth from the website and your web browser in simple text. This means that anyone connecting to a Wi-Fi network or your internet service provider would be able view the web pages that you have been visiting and all of the data that has been transferred, including your personal information.

How HTTPS protects you

When you connect to an HTTPS-secured website, such as your bank’s it will automatically redirect you to HTTPS. Your web browser will then check the authenticity of the website’s security certificate to make sure that it is legitimate. This helps you to ensure that you’re actually connected to your bank’s real website.

When you send sensitive information to a HTTPS website, no one can see the information whilst it is being sent. HTTPS is what secures online banking and shopping and makes sure that it is safe.

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