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SSL Certificate: Are All Websites Required To Use It?

150 150 Andrew Broberg

The increasing number of cyber threat cases signals website owners to zero in on security to ensure that cyber attacks are reduced if not completely removed. Hacking is a monumental concern because hackers are good at devising plans to work their way into our websites and steal our information. It is already too late to realize that we have fallen prey to their schemes. The use of SSL certificate is considered by experts as one way to combat cyber threats and attacks. It gets our websites secure and filters suspicious activities. How does SSL certificate become beneficial to website owners?

HTTPs: In a nutshell

For us to know the benefits of SSL certificate, it is important to understand how HTTPs work. HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. This is a type of protocol used by web servers and browsers as a way of transmitting data or communicating to one another. An HTTP command is sent when a website address is entered into the address bar. HTTP gets the website we wish to access.

SSL, on the other hand, stands for Secure Socket Layer. It is a method of encrypting data while travelling through the Internet. It ensures that the private information that users or customers provide will not be compromised. Private information such as credit card details or passwords entered on e-commerce websites are going through different servers and networks before it goes to the right destination.

During this process, hackers attempt to intercept the user’s private information. However, if the network is encrypted, the data being transmitted will be difficult to read, hence, it prevents hackers from stealing sensitive or confidential information. Using SSL certificate on your website gives users or customers the confidence that your website can be trusted and their personal information is protected.

HTTPS websites: The New Norm

The recent policies in web browsing have allowed users to check if their connection to the website is secure especially when attempting to access any non-HTTPS websites on the browser. Use Chrome or Firefox and it will let you experience these changes to web browsing. This is beneficial to customers because it prevents hackers from manipulating sensitive information. E-commerce websites are making sure that visitors feel comfortable leaving their shipping or billing details. We will even notice that if you happen to stumble upon an insecure website, the browser will give us a warning indicating that the connection is not private. The message occurs if an HTTPS website does not have SSL certificate.

SSL is deemed essential to websites to protect user authentication, financial records, private data and other confidential information. If you have an e-commerce website, websites with login forms, membership sites, HTTP2-powered sites or blog sites, the use of SSL certificate is highly recommended.

How to identify if a website is SSL-secured?

Arm yourself with knowledge when accessing sites. We can tell a website is SSL-secured if the URL on the address bar starts with HTTPS. When it is highlighted in GREEN it signifies that the connection is secure. There is also a green lock icon found on the top corner of the browser’s address bar. It is also interesting to note that there are websites that have the HTTPS in the address but do not have a green lock in the address bar. It could mean that the SSL certificate is not yet provided. It is also important to check if a website has a security seal as this verifies the identity of the website once the seal is clicked.

4 Best Practices To Protect Your Website From Hackers

150 150 Andrew Broberg

Hackers do not choose which website to hack, though this is what people choose to believe. Even if your website is not a big one, there is still a great chance that it will get hacked. In fact, you are most likely to be a good target for hackers because of this false belief. Even if you have a small business, keeping your guards down is not an option. No matter the size, regardless of time, your website gets hacked all the time.

When talking about hacking, the first thing that comes to mind is stealing data or defacing the website. However, these are not the only types of security breaches taking place on the World Wide Web. There are also devious attempts to turn your server into a temporary server for illegal files or an email relay for sending spam. Your website can be protected from suspicious activities and there are 4 ways to keep it secure.

1. Make sure your software is updated

Your website should run on up-to-date software to ensure that it is impervious to cyber attacks. Running updates regularly will help you to identify if your website is supported by the most recent version of the software. Even if you are using third-party plug-ins, you need to keep information updated and implement them in a timely manner. It is easy to forget about keeping your third-party plug-ins updated, but outdated plug-ins can pose a serious threat to your website. It can even become a gateway for hackers to destroy your website.

2. Install antivirus

Malicious attacks happen when you do not reinforce security around your website. Aside from installing antivirus, it is also important to install firewall. They can sift out malicious requests, inspect incoming traffic and protect your website from spam. A web host provider that has the ability to handle website security threats must be considered. It is also recommended to choose a dedicated hosting server so you can prevent attacks due to sharing your server with multiple websites.

3. Switch to HTTPS

Sensitive information cannot be transferred from an unsecured server. This is why switching to HTTPS or Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure ensures you have a secure communications protocol. It ensures that there is an additional encryption called Transport Layer Security (TLS), which serves as extra security from hackers. More often than not, e-commerce websites have layers of encryptions so online transactions are protected.

4. Use strong passwords

One way hackers attack is by guessing username/password combinations. There is an alarming rise of attacks in the last two years. It is prevalent across the globe. Brute force attacks can be eliminated by creating strong passwords. A strong password is a combination of alphanumeric characters, symbols, upper and lower case letters. It should be at least 12 characters long. As much as possible, you should not use the password for all website logins. Make it a habit to change your passwords regularly as well.

Should eCommerce Websites Run On HTTPS?

150 150 Andrew Broberg

Security is considered paramount in the digital age.

Security issues can compromise your website. Ecommerce websites are not the only ones that should be using HTTPS. Websites that run on HTTP are more vulnerable to data breaches and cyber attacks. Considering the number of breach in security, websites should start embracing HTTPS.

Why would you consider using HTTPS?

HTTPS secures three elements: encryption, data integrity, and authentication. If you are still using HTTP, third parties can easily inject malicious content to your website without your knowledge. It can have a serious impact on your brand image and may even put your business at risk as a result.

In 2014, many websites have switched to HTTPS with a percentage of 55%. In 2016, the adoption increased to 79% as more and more website owners are concerned about their level of security. Aside from security, people who have made the switch consider HTTPS as a viable platform for meeting customer expectations.

Setting Up HTTPS

HTTPS and SSL work hand in hand to provide an encrypted standard for website-client communication. SSL serves as a door keeper. You cannot enter a building unless you hand your ID to the door keeper. This means that SSL will verify that your license is legit before you can get inside.

The process of setting up HTTPS:

1. Purchase and register an SSL certificate from an SSL provider;

2. Be sure to register the SSL certificate in the name of the website;

3. Verify whether or not the website is legitimate by working with the SSL provider.

You purchase SSL certificates on a yearly basis.  As a rule of thumb, you need to successfully install SSL  certificate on your website to establish HTTPS connections.

Do eCommerce websites really need an SSL certificate?

Ecommerce websites usually require HTTPS and SSL certificates.

1.  Consumers prefer websites using HTTPS especially for credit card payments. Online retailers that provide a secure way of accepting credit card payments give customers greater peace of mind. Running on HTTPS ensures that your website treats information with confidentiality. As a result, more and more customers trust your website.

2. Businesses are expected to follow legal requirements or privacy regulations.

Using third party payment system such as Paypal spares your website from using HTTPS and purchasing SSL. All transactions that you run through a third party shopping cart, which is hosted on a different website will no longer require you to purchase your own SSL certificate.

In general, there is a greater chance that a prospective buyer will commit to choosing your company if your website is secure or using HTTPS. SEO wise, Google favors sites that utilise HTTPS, which can have a slight effect on the sites’ ranking.

HTTPS vs HTTP: What’s The Difference?

150 150 Andrew Broberg

When browsing a website, have you ever noticed the web address’ format? The web address may either begin with http or https.

What’s the difference?

First, we need to find out what HTTP and HTTPS stand for. HTTP refers to the Hyper Text Transfer Protocol while HTTPS stands for Secure Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. You may have already noticed that only a single word separates the latter from the former. We will start with discussing the basics of HTTP and HTTPS.

Hyper Text Transfer Protocol:

HTTP refers to an application layer protocol. You can simply say that it only focuses on how the information is presented. It does not really care how data gets from Point A to Point B. In other words, it does not remember anything about the previous Web session. By default, HTTP operates on Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) Port 80. This means that for you to use HTTP, your computer should send and receive data specifically through this port. Non-negotiable.

Secure Hyper Text Transfer Protocol:

Let’s just say that HTTPS is the more practical and secure way of using HTTP. It operates on TCP Port 443 and it works in conjunction with another protocol often referred to as Secure Sockets Layer(SSL). SSL ensures that data are transported safely. Now this gives you peace of mind in the event you make an online purchase and you are required to enter your credit card information. SSL does not have a set of prying eyes. In fact, it does not really care what the data looks like.

How does HTTP differ from HTTPS?

Well, aside from the fact that they operate on separate TCP ports, the process is another noticeable distinction.

As you interact with data, HTTP simply presents the data to you through your web browser. This enables your browser to get an idea what to do once you click. HTTP has very limited role to play. Once the data travels, HTTP’s job stops there.

Although HTTPS works the same, it has the ability to differentiate one sender and receiver from another. SSL plays an important role in taking the data both going or coming. SSL encrypts the data using mathematical algorithm, which hides the data’s true meaning. The encryption only takes place when the website owner makes a purchase of a time-sensitive certificate.

Now that you have an idea about the difference between HTTP and HTTPS, the next article will answer a question on whether or not you need HTTPS for your e-commerce website.