August 14, 2018

A Quick Reminder on HTTPS Everywhere

HTTPS Everywhere! So the plugin says, and now browsers are warning users that sites not implementing https:// are security risks. Using HTTPS everywhere is good advice. And this really means "everywhere": the home page, everything. Not just the login page, or the page where you accept donations. Everything.

Implementing HTTPS everywhere has some downsides, as Eric Meyer points out. It breaks caching, which makes the web much slower for people limited to satellite connections (and that's much of the third world); it's a problem for people who, for various reasons, have to use older browsers... The real problem isn't HTTPS's downsides; it's that I see and hear more and more complaints from people who run simple non-commercial sites asking why this affects them. Do you need cryptographic security if your site is a simple read-only, text-only site with nothing controversial? Unfortunately, you do. Here's why. Since the ISPs' theft of the web (it's not limited to the loss of Network Neutrality, and not just an issue in the U.S.), the ISPs themselves can legally execute man-in-the-middle attacks...

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