The internet is full of acronyms and buzzwords and it often seems difficult to understand what people are talking about. Einstein once said you do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother. Well we're here to tell you that you don't have to be Albert Einstein to understand HTTPS and how it makes websites more secure. By the end of this post both you and your grandmother can be a bit more web-savvy.
Most banks will send you a statement by post. Once the letter is sent, a highwayman could rob the postman and steal the letter before it reaches your door step. If he opens the letter, he can read your bank statement, because the financial transactions on the printed page are readable by anyone.
When you explore the internet, data packets are sent constantly between your computer and the website you are browsing. Hackers could potentially get hold of this information, just like the highwayman, and read information that was being sent to you, or from you. If you're receiving sensitive information, like financial transactions, or sending sensitive information, like your username and password, you don't want the hackers to be able to read these data packets.
That's where HTTPS comes in. To make sure that your packets are not readable, you need to keep an eye on the address bar of your browser for one particular letter: the ‘S' in ‘HTTPS'. The ‘S' is for secure, and using HTTPS encrypts every data packet you send and receive, so they can only be read by the sender and the intended recipient. If the address bar only says ‘http', then your communications might not be secure; only if the internet address starts with ‘https' can you be sure that your information is travelling securely over the web. So if you supply any password, payment details or other sensitive information on a website, you must always double check if you see ‘https' in front of the address bar.
by Chris Woolderink, Developer