Google to Upgrade Internet Security

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Google is upgrading its internet security. What does that mean for consumers?

While Google is attempting to make the Internet a safer place, it may mean some extra work on your end. Google recently announced that, beginning in 2017, Chrome users will be warned when they visit an insecure site.

Starting in January, Google Chrome will be the only web browser to warn users of insecure sites. Their Internet dominance also gives them a large voice in who finds your site through their search engine. This means Google will be giving better search results to sites that have SSL installed. SSL stands for “secure sockets layer,” which refers to a protocol embedded in a site that creates a secure connection between a visitor and the site for information exchange. With this considered, it’s only a matter of time before all web browsers follow suit and begin upgrading their internet security with the new protocols in mind.

You may say to yourself: “My site hasn’t had problems. It should be secure, right?”

Not necessarily. Google is casting a very broad net with these warnings. This means that, even though your site is fine now, they will start warning visitors that your website may be unsafe. To prevent this from happening, you will need to beef up your internet security, which may mean hiring an IT professional. If you are unsure if your website is secured, check your URL.

For unsecured websites, the URL will read something like this:

http://www.mywebsite.com.

When you visit a secure website, the URL looks like this:

https://www.mywebsite.com.

See the difference? You will notice the addition of an “s” to the first phrase. The “s” means that there is a security certificate installed, and the connection is both secure and encrypted. Your web browser looks at the “s,” and checks the certificate to make sure it is set up properly. Once this is confirmed, it then displays the page normally.

This is known as an SSL Certificate. In the past, they’ve only been used for websites that deal with credit card or other secure information transfers. However, in the interest of web safety, Google is pushing for a broader adoption by encouraging the installation of SSL certificates for all websites –– even the ones that don’t transfer sensitive data.

Everyone’s website setup is different, so there is no “one-size-fits-all” set of instructions. To make this change on your own site, you should be familiar with DNS and domains. The process will differ depending on your domain registrar, DNS setup and website host.

For most websites, installing a certificate can be done fairly easily. However, installing one is not a beginner-level task. Unless you are comfortable with domains and DNS records, you need to talk to a trusted IT professional who understands internet security.

If you have a website that processes credit cards, you are already set up. If not, you have until January to make this change. Click here for the full details from Google.