Google is taking a firm stance to better protect consumer security.
What would it be like to have your site shamed by the world’s largest browser? Many publishers and online retailers are about to find out. Here’s what you need to know so that you’re not one of them.
While you may have heard that Google recently released Chrome 68 for desktops at the end of July 2018, you may not know that along with it came what Google calls “a milestone for Chrome Security.”
HTTPS is an acronym which stands for “hypertext transfer protocol secure”.
HTTPS generally offers safer protection while processing payments or sharing personal information with a site. With HTTPS, the information sent between your browser and the website is encrypted, while sites using simple HTTP leave hackers the ability to intercept this data and use it however they wish, including injecting Malware into your computer.
Since 2014, all website’s still using HTTP began running the risk of a possible drop in Google search ranking. But since many of the world’s largest websites didn’t seem to motivated by the threat, Google’s now taking things a step further.
With the new Chrome update, all websites who haven’t made the switch will be flagged as “Not Secure.”
This message will appear to the left of the URL address as a warning to consumers before entering the site. So not only will their failure to adopt the “S” hurt their SEO ranking, but also possibly scare away cautious consumers practicing “better safe than sorry” when choosing what sites to give their business.
Ironically enough, despite Google’s generous 6 months’ heads-up, not to mention HTTPS being easy and universal, so many of the largest sites remain on an insecure connection vs. a secure, encrypted one, putting all their customers at risk. But many website owners attribute the delay to the time-consuming logistics of the switch.
Jason Jedlinski, head of consumer products at USA Today Network, says they’ve gone back and forth taking stock of all the different partner and vendors that appear on their pages with countless testing and retesting that followed. Jedlinski says,”we were coordinating with them to be sure they were ready and could support secure delivery, so we didn’t have a ‘half-secure’ experience.”
His advice: “rather than being intimidated by the enormity of the effort, be judicious about what has to be on your page,” Jedlinski advises publishers. “This presents a good opportunity to clean house and streamline the number of third-party elements that are a part of your website.” It provides the perfect opportunity to have the conversation about what weeding out unnecessary pixels, partners or links that you otherwise wouldn’t have.
With “fake news” becoming so present in our online consumption today, the absence of a “Not Secure” label is a positive sign of authenticity that many consumers seek while browsing the web. It helps reassure them that all content coming from the company through the browser was actually produced by them, and even better yet, real.
Not all websites still using HTTP are necessarily dangerous, but consumers need to be careful. Google’s update is sure to at least help make the internet a little more safer for everyone. For more information on whether or not your site is at risk of Chrome’s “shame,” aka weakened performance, lower rankings and potentially lost customers, contact us to get up to speed.