Some people doesn’t know the difference between HTTP and HTTPS and I try to explain in human language what HTTPS means. Basic knowledge that you really need to know before you enter somewhere your personal or credit card information.
For sure you read news about companies, agencies and government who were the victims of cyber attacks where sensitive and confidential information ended up on the street. The good thing about this kind of news is that computer users are increasingly aware of the fact that their data they send over the Internet can be intercepted, copied and published in public. The first step you can do as user is to prevent this is to check how your data will be sent over the Internet. But before you can check, you need to know some basic concepts and knowing how you can recognize them.
Computers communicate through a protocol called HTTP which means Hypertext Transfer Protocol. HTTP is really nothing more than a language that computers use to speak to each other. It’s maybe a strange comparison, but it’s like you are talking with somebody else on the street and a third person will hear, record and share your conversation with others. The situation is changing when you have a conversation with a code. Then it is already more difficult for the third person to find out where you’re talking about. There is no difference when it comes to computers. Once you send the information in code on the Internet, you’re using a HTTPS connection. The extra S stands for Secure which means that the data is sent encrypted. This makes it more difficult for other people to retrieve, intercept and using it.
You can recognize in the address bar if you use a secure HTTPS connection. If the URL begins with HTTPS you are using a secure connection. Normally the browser gives you a warning when you enter or leave a secure connection. Once you’re on a website which is asking personal information such as name, address and credit card details, the URL should start with HTTPS.
HTTPS is not always safe, fake websites using the same protocol and they looks like a real website. Hackers are trying to get your personal information such as credit card to purchase things using your name. This kind of hacking is called phishing which is commonly used by Bank, PayPal, Visa, MasterCard. This means that HTTPS is not always safe, so if you’re not sure, better submit a search at Google to see the reviews and comments from other visitors.