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The Power of SSL – Secure Browsing

Posted on: December 7th, 2013 by Brett Weston No Comments

With the ever increasing sophistication of online attacks, it is more important than ever to practice safe browsing habits. SSL browsing has been an industry standard in the financial world (online banking sites) for some time to protect their customers information. However, hackers are now targeting social networking sites as a means to gain access to a myriad of accounts.

In response to this, many popular social media sites, and others as well, have implemented SSL browsing. Still, many people don’t know the service is available and continue browsing in plain text, allowing attackers to potentially see all information passed between their computer and the server on the other end. On July 31, 2013, Facebook announced that it would be making SSL browsing the default for all of it users. Similarly, Twitter uses SLL browsing for most of its communication but not all.

There are a two ways to ensure your browsing is protected on the internet: enable SSL browsing within your account settings on each website, or use third-party plugins. The former takes a little time as you have to login to each service and enable the option BUT does ensure that all connections to the site are encrypted (mobile or otherwise, assuming the site supports it). The latter ensures that all communication between the browser with the plugin installed and the server are encrypted. This saves time in setting up each of your accounts but does leave mobile browsing or application access potentially unprotected. The best option? Use both.

One such plugin that forces SSL communication is HTTPS Everywhere. Currently available for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, the plugin redirects unprotected communication on websites known to support SSL to encrypted connections. The plugin downloads a list of updated sites that support encrypted connections regularly giving you peace of mind that your information is much more difficult for hacker to obtain and use.

If you have questions on the above information, comment below or contact datasecurity@luc.edu.

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