What is HTTP ?
we’re going to talk about HTTP, secure HTTP, and SSL.
Now HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. Now this is probably the most widely used protocol in the world today.
HTTP is the protocol that is used for viewing web pages on the internet. So when you type in a web address, like google.com, you’ll notice that HTTP is automatically added at the beginning of the web address. And this indicates that you are now using HTTP to retrieve this web page.
Now in standard HTTP, all the information is sent in clear text. So all the information that is exchanged between your computer and that web server, which includes any text that you type on that website, that information is transferred over the public internet. And because it’s transferred in clear text, it’s vulnerable to anybody who wants it, such as hackers.
Now normally this would not be a big deal if you were just browsing regular websites and no sensitive data such as passwords or credit card information are being used. But if you were to type in personal sensitive data, like your name, address, phone number, passwords, or credit card information
that sensitive data goes from your computer and then it has to travel across the public internet to get to that web server. And this makes your data vulnerable because a hacker that somewhere on the internet can listen in as that data is being transferred and steal your information.
What is HTTPS ?
So as you can see this hacker is stealing personal information as it’s traveling over the internet. So he has a name, phone numbers, address, credit card numbers, and so on. So this is a problem as far as security. And this is why HTTPS was developed.
HTTPS stands for Secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol. And this is HTTP with a security feature. Secure HTTP
encrypts the data that being retrieved by HTTP.
It ensures that all the data that’s being transferred over the internet between computers and servers, is secure by making the data impossible to read. And it does this by using encryption algorithms to scramble the data that’s being transferred.
So for example if you were to go to a website that requires you to enter personal information, such as passwords or credit card numbers, you will notice that an ‘S’ will be added to the HTTP in the web address. And this ‘S’ indicates that you are now using secure HTTP and have entered a secure website where sensitive data is going to be passed and that data is going to be protected. And in addition to the ‘S’ being added, a lot of web browsers will also show a padlock symbol in the address bar to indicate that secure HTTP is being used. So by using secure HTTP, all the data which includes anything that you type, is no longer sent in clear text. It’s scrambled in an unreadable form as it travels across the internet.
So if a hacker were to try and steal your information he would get a bunch of meaningless data because the
data is encrypted and the hacker would not be able to crack the encryption to unscramble the data.
What is SSL ?
Now secure HTTP protects the data by using one of two protocols. And one of these protocols is SSL. SSL or Secure Sockets Layer, is a protocol that’s used to ensure security on the internet.
It uses public key encryption to secure data.So basically this is how SSL works. So when a computer connects to a website that’s using SSL, the computer’s web browser will ask the website to identify itself. Then the web server will send the computer a copy of its SSL certificate.
An SSL certificate is a small digital certificate that is used to authenticate the identity of a website. Basically it’s used to let your computer know that the website you’re visiting is trustworthy. So then the computer’s browser will check to make sure that it trusts the certificate. And if it does, it will send a message to the web server.
Then after the web server will respond back with an acknowledgment so an SSL session can proceed. Then after all these steps are complete, encrypted data can now be exchanged between your computer and the web
What is TLS ?
the other protocol that secure HTTP can use is called TLS. TLS or transport layer security is the latest industry standard cryptographic protocol.
It is the successor to SSL and it’s based on the same specifications. And like SSL, it also authenticates the server, client, and encrypts the data.
It’s also important to point out, that a lot of websites are now using secure HTTP by default on their websites regardless if sensitive data is going to be exchanged or not. And a lot of this has to do with Google.
Because Google is now flagging websites as not secure if they are not protected with SSL. And if a website is not SSL protected, Google will penalize that website in their search rankings.
So that’s why now if you go to any major website you’ll notice that secure HTTP is being used rather than standard HTTP.