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Increase security and privacy with https

There are several communication standards in use on the internet and when you visit a website and display a web page then the http (HyperText Transfer Protocol) is used. Anyone who does website development will be familiar with other protocols like ftp. When you access a website like Google you can simply type in www.google.com or even just google.com and the browser assume you want to use http and automatically adds it. You won't see http:// in the address box because it's just assumed these days.

If you visit a bank or other financial institution, go to the checkout at an online store, and similar places, you will see that the address starts with https (HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure). This is for security purposes and it enables the web browser and website to encrypt the information that they send each other. It prevents anyone from seeing the information exchanged or for anyone to alter it. It is essential for online banking and shopping.

Did you know that you can use this encryption for other websites too? The next time you go to Facebook don't simply type www.facebook.com, instead type https://www.facebook.com to access it securely. No-one will be able to evesdrop on your communications. The same is possible with Twitter and you can type https://www.twitter.com. Even Google can be used with https://www.google.com.

httpsThere are many sites that can be accessed with https and it increases your privacy and security. But which sites can you use it with? It's hard to know. Typing https:// every time you need it is a pain. It's easier to type google.com or facebook.com and so on. The http://www. is assumed by the browser.

You can get the best of both worlds with browser add-ons and extensions for Firefox and Chrome. These enable you to use the short URLs like twitter.com, but automatically use https://.

If you use Firefox then go and get HTTPS Everywhere. Whenever you go to a website this Firefox extension checks whether https is available and if it is, it automatically uses it. It's excellent. An alternative add-on for Firefox is HTTPS Finder. If you use Chrome then you should try KB SSL Enforcer, an extension that enforces https wherever possible. An alternative is Use HTTPS.

These add-ons and extensions work automatically and you don't need to think about them. Just use the web as you normally would. You'll automatically use the safer and more private https wherever it is available.

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