Tech-Friendly: Use HTTPS Everywhere with Firefox for more secure browsing
By Paul Gorski
HTTPS Everywhere is a Firefox extension that encrypts the data shared between your browser and many websites. A beta version is available for Google Chrome, but since it is in beta (not ready for prime time), I will not recommend its use with Chrome.
HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is a data sharing protocol used to encrypt and protect data shared between your browser and mobile apps and many commercial and private websites. Although many sites use the HTTPS protocol to encrypt your data, the protocol may not be active by default. HTTPS Everywhere forces Firefox to use HTTPS if the HTTPS protocol is used on a website.
From https: //www.eff.org/https-everywhere: “HTTPS Everywhere is produced as a collaboration between The Tor Project and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Many sites on the web offer some limited support for encryption over HTTPS, but make it difficult to use. For instance, they may default to unencrypted HTTP, or fill encrypted pages with links that go back to the unencrypted site. The HTTPS Everywhere extension fixes these problems by using a clever technology to rewrite requests to these sites to HTTPS.”
HTTPS Everywhere cannot create a secure HTTPS connection to a website if the website does not support HTTPS.
Why encrypt the data between Firefox and a website? To protect your data from interception and tampering. HTTPS is not perfect, but does add an important level of security. HTTPS is so important that all major banking and shopping sites use it to help protect your financial information.
HTTPS Everywhere is not a substitute for anti-virus software or applying regular operating system security updates, but it can help make the Internet a safer place to surf. Install the HTTPS Everywhere Firefox extension here: https://www.eff.org/https-everywhere, and visit: https://www.eff.org/https-everywhere/faq if you have more questions about the extension.
If you do not use Firefox, give it a try. Download Firefox here: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/.
Paul Gorski (www.paulgorski.com) has been a technology manager nearly 20 years, specializing in workflow solutions for printing, publishing and advertising computer users. Originally destined to be a chemist, his interest in computers began in college when he wrote a program to analyze data from lab instruments he hard-wired to the back of an Apple lle.
Posted Aug. 19, 2014