Google Chrome will now issue web warnings for unsafe sites

Ian Bush
July 24, 2018 - 3:36 pm

Dreamstime

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — If you use Google Chrome as your web browser, you'll likely see warning messages appear on your computer screen.

It's all about one letter: "S."

"The 'S' stands for secure," explained Nick Sullivan, head of cryptography at Cloudflare, a web content delivery and security provider. "What that adds is a layer of encryption."

The "S" gets tacked onto HTTP — the beginning part of the web address that no one types anymore when browsing. HTTPS is designed to protect information that passes between you and the website. Many sites already have made the secure switch and redirect traffic automatically.

"Chrome is trying to help that process along by indicating to people whether or not the webpage is secure," Sullivan said. "In the last couple of years, Google has decided — as well as the general web community — that HTTPS should be the default."

Next to the web address, you'll see "not secure" for some sites like ESPN.com that still connect using plain text, or unencrypted HTTP.

"If you're putting in passwords or credit cards or something that's personally identifiable and potentially risky for someone else to get ahold of, if it says 'not secure,' then you should probably hold back from doing that," Sullivan added.

While HTTPS is not an internet protection panacea, it can help prevent other risks, like malicious web ads that spread viruses.