Security Experts:

Chrome to Issue Red "Not Secure" Warning for HTTP

Google is putting yet another nail in the HTTP coffin: starting with Chrome 70, pages that are not served over a secure connection will be marked with a red warning.

The search giant has been pushing for an encrypted web for many years, and suggested in 2014 that all HTTP sites be marked as insecure.

Google proposed that Chrome would initially mark HTTP pages serving password fields or credit card interactions as “Not Secure,” and only then move to marking all of them in a similar manner.

Now, Google believes that the Chrome security indicators should evolve in line with a wider adoption of HTTPS across the Internet.

At the beginning of May 2018, over 93% of the traffic across Google resources was being served over an encrypted connection, a major improvement since early 2014, when only 50% of the traffic was encrypted.

 Similar advancements were observed across the web as well, where around three quarters of the pages loaded via Chrome at the end of last week were served over HTTPS. Three years ago, only around 40% of the loaded pages were using HTTPS.

Given the wider adoption of HTTPS, Google is now ready to make another push towards eliminating unencrypted connections by marking HTTP pages with a red “Not Secure” warning.

“Previously, HTTP usage was too high to mark all HTTP pages with a strong red warning, but in October 2018 (Chrome 70), we’ll start showing the red “not secure” warning when users enter data on HTTP pages,” Emily Schechter, Product Manager, Chrome Security, notes in a blog post.

This, however, is one of the major changes Google is making to Chrome’s security indicators. Thus, Chrome 69 will remove the (green) “Secure” wording and HTTPS scheme in September 2018.

“Users should expect that the web is safe by default, and they’ll be warned when there’s an issue. Since we’ll soon start marking all HTTP pages as ‘not secure’, we’ll step towards removing Chrome’s positive security indicators so that the default unmarked state is secure,” Schechter notes.

Google isn’t the only Internet company to be pushing for the adoption of HTTPS: WordPress started offering free HTTPS to all hosted websites, Let’s Encrypt provides free HTTPS certificates, and Amazon is offering free security certificates to AWS customers.

Starting last year, Firefox too is warning users when webpages are serving login fields over an unsecure, HTTP connection.

As of May 1, Chrome is also displaying a warning when encountering a publicly-trusted certificate (DV, OV, and EV) issued after April 30 that is not compliant with the Chromium Certificate Transparency (CT) Policy.

“We hope these changes continue to pave the way for a web that’s easy to use safely, by default. HTTPS is cheaper and easier than ever before, and unlocks powerful capabilities -- so don’t wait to migrate to HTTPS,” Schechter concludes.  

Related: Chrome Browser Now Enforces Certificate Transparency

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