Web data security: the HTTPS Protocol

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Protect your site with the HTTPS protocol

HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is a protocol for communication over the Internet that protects the integrity and confidentiality of data exchanged between computers and sites. This protocol was created to secure the exchange of information between two web nodes and prevent phishing and hacker attacks by ensuring users a safe and private use of a website, regardless of the content it hosts.

Google labels as “unsafe” all web pages that collect sensitive data, such as login credentials and credit card data, and bank transactions, not published via HTTPS protocol. To ensure that users’ browser does not display a “non-security” notification of web pages, you need to move the entire website or only pages that host forms fields for entering passwords and credit cards, in pages published using the HTTPS protocol.

In addition to sensitive payment data and login credentials, you must also protect your privacy about personal data such as names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, and general preferences. For this reason, in addition to being fundamental for banks and e-commerce websites, adopting the HTTPS protocol is also recommended for any type of website, including blogs and amateur websites. HTTPS, therefore, protects the integrity and confidentiality of information exchanged between computers and websites by issuing a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate. In particular, data sent via HTTPS is protected by the Transport Layer Security (TLS) certificate, which provides three basic levels of protection:

  • Encryption: The data exchanged is encrypted to protect them from eavesdropping. This means that, while the user visits a website, no one can “listen” to his conversations, keep track of the activities carried out on multiple pages or subtract his information.
  • Data integrity: Data cannot be changed or damaged during transfer, intentionally or unintentionally, without being detected.
  • Authentication: Demonstrates that users communicate with the intended website, protects against man-in-the-middle attacks, and instills trust in users.

Advantages of the HTTPS protocol

The main advantages of activating the HTTPS security protocol are:

  • Authentication. Allows the browser to verify that you are browsing the correct site and that you have not been applied a redirection by an attacker.
  • Protect the integrity of a website. It helps maintain the integrity of communication between the website and the browser of the users who visit it, preventing attackers from violating it and inserting unwanted advertisements or malware in it.
  • Protect users’ privacy and security. Being an encrypted communication prevents third parties from reading data about users and their behavior on the site.
  • SEO. Google considers the HTTPS security protocol as a determining factor for the positioning of various websites in its search results. This penalizes all sites with HTTP protocol.

Best practices for HTTPS protocol implementation

To switch from an HTTP protocol to an HTTPS protocol, you must request a TLS or SSL certificate from your hosting provider. Thanks to the services offered by different platforms you can install them with a simple click. The final step will be to adapt the service to your website, for these steps it is better to be supported by your web agency, thus avoiding errors or slowdowns.

 

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