The DuckDuckGo Smarter Encryption feature will automatically give you the encrypted HTTPS version of websites as they are available.
It’s available on DuckDuckGo’s mobile browser for Android and iOS, and through the company’s desktop browser extension for Firefox and Chrome. DuckDuckGo is also open sourcing the code behind the feature so other sites and platforms can adopt it as well. First up? Pinterest.
I especially like how they’re open-sourcing it for others to use.
More websites have encrypted their traffic than ever, but there is a loophole. Some use a mixture of HTTPS and unsecure HTTP. Google is closing this by building HTTPS protection directly into certain top level domains.
Which means that today, when you register a site through Google that uses “.app,” “.dev,” or “.page,” that page and any others you build off it are automatically added to a list that all mainstream browsers, including Chrome, Safari, Edge, Firefox, and Opera, check when they’re setting up encrypted web connections. It’s called the HTTPS Strict Transport Security preload list, or HSTS, and browsers use it to know which sites should only load as encrypted HTTPS automatically, rather than falling back to unencrypted HTTP in some circumstances. In short, it fully automates what can otherwise be a tricky scheme to set up.
If you’ve updated to iOS 12.2 and/or macOS 14.4, you’ve probably seen a ‘Not Secure’ message in the Safari address bar. OSXDaily explains.
By seeing the ‘Not Secure” Safari message on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac you are simply being informed by Safari that the website or webpage being visited is using HTTP rather than HTTPS, or perhaps that HTTPS is misconfigured at some technical level.
Ironically, as the article points out OSXDaily is itself not secure.
If a website uses HTTPS, Safari will display a green padlock next to the domain in the address bar. But in some cases it could still be insecure.
In analysis of the web’s top 10,000 HTTPS sites—as ranked by Amazon-owned analytics company Alexa—the researchers found that 5.5 percent had potentially exploitable TLS vulnerabilities. These flaws were caused by a combination of issues in how sites implemented TLS encryption schemes and failures to patch known bugs (of which there are many) in TLS and its predecessor Secure Sockets Layer. But the worst thing about these flaws is they are subtle enough that the green padlock will still appear.
The U.S. Government shutdown has affected a whole host of areas in the public sector. One that might not immediately spring to mind, but is rather important nevertheless, is federal HTTPS certificates. Techcrunch had a look into the issue and compiled a list of all the federal HTTPS certificates that expired, or are about to expire. It included domains that redirect to the Congressional record and websites for agencies such as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. If you go to one of the sites with an already expired HTTPS certificate, such as disasterhousing.gov, you get a warning that the site might not be secure.
During the government shutdown, security experts noticed several federal websites were throwing back browser errors because the TLS certificate, which lights up your browser with “HTTPS” or flashes a padlock, had expired on many domains. And because so many federal workers have been sent home on unpaid leave — or worse, working without pay but trying to fill in for most of their furloughed department — expired certificates aren’t getting renewed. Renewing certificates doesn’t take much time or effort — sometimes just a click of a mouse. But some do cost money, and during a government shutdown, there isn’t any.