Searching for security

Internet security is a hot topic these days, as it seems a week doesn’t go by without another story of information being hacked and stolen. Most people know someone who has been affected by identity theft as it’s become a global cottage industry. According to the American non-profit agency, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, almost a billion records have been breached since 2005. And those are just the ones that have been reported.

The world’s favourite search engine, Google, is now taking steps to help make internet security an issue all website owners are conscious of. As of next year – now only three months away – Google will consider if a site is secure as one of the many criteria they use to determine the order of search results.

We have all seen the little padlock icon sitting next to the website address when visiting specific websites. This, followed by “https”, denotes the website is sitting behind a security certificate.

, Searching for security

Traditionally this was something that was only found on ecommerce and bank websites as they collect and process sensitive information. Google wants to change that with the end goal of increasing the overall security level of all websites.

Google has acknowledged this will not weigh highly within their complex search algorithm that considers 200 factors when determining search results. However they have not ruled out increasing its weight as time goes on.
Some search engines, such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, are also getting involved. They now displaying an “i” next to the website address of unsecured sites.

, Searching for security

 

When this “i” is clicked an ominous message displays which can be alarming to inexperienced web users:

“Your connection to this site is not private, Information you submit could be viewed by others (like passwords, messages, credit cards, etc).”

, Searching for security

 

This combined effort has the joint aim of making security an issue we all consider when using the internet. This probably isn’t a bad thing. However for website owners, it means they have to take a slightly more proactive approach to ensure their site meets the new standards that are now taking shape.