Google has made a lot of headlines lately. The giant search engine popular enough to create a new verb in the English language plans to favor SSL encrypted websites in search results. Search engines like Google, however, aren’t the only ones pushing for a safer web. Several popular web browsers have made similar announcements, promising to ban unsecure HTTP websites in favor of the more secure HTTPS in the near future.
This move is the result of a series of factors, including Google’s announcement, the threat of POODLE attacks, and a general push for increased security online. The fact that Google’s browser, Chrome, will likely follow in the search engine’s footsteps also pushes other browsers to make changes to support the new security measures. Since phasing out unsecure HTTP addresses keeps browsers both current and secure, it’s little wonder several notable companies have joined the push. Security is by far their greatest concern. Users must feel safe using these browsers or they will gradually move to more secure options as man-in-the-middle data theft increases.
While Microsoft does not appear to have made any public statements about phasing out HTTP websites, the company has warned users about flaws in older browser models. Microsoft is pushing users to choose newer browser software that can access encrypted websites and avoid some of the bigger pitfalls of SSL 3.0. While the company has always been quick to promote new software, there is a surprising number of tutorials and pages from the company suggesting or guiding users through the process of upgrading SSL certification.
Mozilla Firefox, one of the most popular browsers in the world, recently announced a two-step program to gradually remove unsecured websites from their regular browser access. The first step of this plan is to set a date. After this date, new features will not function for uncertified websites. Users will still be able to access HTTP websites, but any new Mozilla features will not work for those addresses. For example, if Mozilla comes out with a new search bar, uncertified websites may not appear in search results the bar generates.
The second step will begin after the cut-off date for new development takes effect. In the second step, Mozilla will gradually remove access to websites without SSL certification. The Mozilla team repeatedly stresses their commitment to security, both for their own software and for their users. Mozilla also plans to simply remove access to specific features on unsecured websites, and that will likely cause many websites to break. The first unsecured websites to be phased out will be those that pose the greatest potential security risks.
It’s impossible for all browsers to make these changes overnight. So far, even the statements and plans presented to users and the public only sketch out future actions. Browsers haven’t even set dates yet. This is the best time for websites to update to the latest SSL certification. Fortunately, GlowHost is currently offering COMODO SSL certificates at half off, making the process affordable for essentially any website. When Google has already promised SEO benefits for early adapters, and the programs that guide users through the Internet are threatening penalties, it’s important to keep ahead.
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