Google Chrome users met with 'Not secure' warnings from Tuesday

If you’re still running a website that is using insecure HTTP then it’s probably too late.

Some of your website’s visitors are going to be greeted with a message that tells them that they can’t trust your website to be .

That’s the message they’re going to get from which – in version 68 released on 23 July 2018 – is changing its behaviour, and will start labelling all sites that continue to use unencrypted HTTP as “not secure”.

And as Chrome is the world’s most widely-used browser, that’s an awful lot of visitors who might feel unsettled visiting your website from Tuesday.

Why has Google made this change? Well,

It’s not as though website administrators haven’t been given fair warning. The Chrome browser has been marking HTTP webpages that ask for passwords or payment card details as not secure since early last year.

And in February, Google confirmed that with the release of Chrome 68 this month it would “mark all HTTP sites as “not secure”.”

HTTPS is good for your website visitors, and it’s good for your website.

Enabling HTTPS stops your webpages from being tampered with in transit, and stops anyone from snooping on the data that your might be sending to your website. And, if you need any more convincing, Google has indicated that if your website has HTTPS that’s going to help your search ranking too.

And HTTPS doesn’t have to cost you anything. The LetsEncrypt initiative lets anyone who owns a domain name obtain a trusted certificate at no cost. If LetsEncrypt is too nerdy for you, you might be able to use the likes of Cloudflare’s free plan to get that all-important HTTPS in your URL.

Security expert Troy Hunt has created a simple website entitled (appropriately) httpsiseasy.com which can walk you through the process of setting up with Cloudflare.

There are going to be some website owners who are going to be pretty upset about Chrome telling their users that their websites are “not secure”. They may even be some regular internet users who are upset too.

But this is an important step in the journey of making the internet a safer, more secure place. Going forward, encryption should be the default, not the exception.

About the author, Graham Cluley

Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon’s Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy.

Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, or drop him an email.

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