Google’s Chrome browser adds security warnings to websites including Daily Mail and Argos – here’s why

If you use Google ’s Chrome browser, you may have noticed some strange security warnings appearing on certain websites.

The browser has added the warning to sites that do not use HTTPS – the secure version of HTTP, the protocol over which data is sent between your browser and the website.

Many sites will be affected, including the Daily Mail, Argos and Boohoo websites.

Here’s everything you need to know about the change, and what it means for you.

The change affects the Daily Mail website

What is HTTPS?

HTTPS stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS).

It’s a secure version of HTTP – the protocol over which data is sent between your browser and the website that you’re connected to.

The ‘secure’ means that all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted.

Most web browsers, including Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google Chrome, will display a padlock icon in the address bar to indicate that a HTTPS connection is in effect.

Speaking to Mirror Online, David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab UK, said: “The implementation of HTTPS on a website provides peace of mind for consumers browsing the web, and whilst there is no indication that websites without HTTPS are currently under attack, it undermines confidence in the security of such websites for handling online transactions.”

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Why is HTTPS more secure than HTTP?

Communications sent over HTTP connections are written in ‘plain text’, meaning that they can easily be read by hackers.

This is particularly an issue if the communication includes private details, such as your address or credit card details.

In contrast, with a HTTPS connection, all communications are encrypted.

This means that even if a hacker managed to break into the connection, they couldn’t read the communication between you and the website.

Mr Emm added: “Without HTTPS, data is vulnerable to interception as it travels across the website – which of course presents a very good opportunity for cybercriminals to gather and manipulate it.”

Which sites still use HTTP?

According to the BBC, around 20 per cent of the world’s top 500 websites still use HTTP.

Some of the major sites in the UK that still use this type of connection include Sky Sports, Argos, Daily Mail and Boohoo.

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And other international sites include gaming site Roblox, and Chinese messaging firm Tencent QQ.

Why are the warnings appearing on Google Chrome today?

Today, Google has updated to Chrome 68, which will flag non-HTTPS sites to users with ‘Not secure’ warnings.

Until now, the browser has only flagged non-HTTPS sites if they collect personal information, such as passwords or credit card details.

What does this mean for you?

While you shouldn’t feel the need to avoid HTTP sites altogether, make sure you’re wary of them – especially if they ask you to enter any personal information.

Mr Emm said: “The fact that a web browser flags the fact that HTTPS is not implemented is a good thing for consumers.

“It’s a signal that they should adopt an air of caution when using them – specifically, when required to enter confidential details.

“However, you should ensure that they choose unique, hard-to-guess passwords for all sites that require you to share sensitive information.”

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