Google has announced that it will shortly begin to phase out the green lock “Secure” indicator next to URLs on Chrome.
According to Google, it’s no longer so important you know which web pages are secured by HTTPS, but that you know which ones are not. Essentially, Google’s new approach is that security should be normal and expected, but bad security should be lit up like a Christmas tree in your face.
Current State of the Web Browser Nation: Why is this news?
Because it’s going to affect most people who use the world wide web. Google’s Chrome Browser has around 57% of the browser market, so when it changes something major, it’s going to affect a lot of people. As a reference point, the next single biggest browser by market share is Apple’s Safari with 14%.
At the time of writing, all HTTPS websites currently show a green lock secure label, that is, if you use Chrome to surf the net. It’s all part of of Google’s long term goal
for world domination for ensuring that the entire surf-able web is protected by HTTPS. Google’s market domination in both browser and search results, allows them to essentially dictate that the world’s websites that still don’t use the HTTPS encryption protocols on their website will have to change.
What is HTTPS?
Essentially it’s a method that ensures secure communication between a user’s browser and a web server. In Chrome, it’s the green bit at the start of the address bar or also a padlock icon in the browser window to indicate a secure connection.
Don’t be Evil
Previous efforts by Google in this area have seen the number of non-HTTPS websites fall substantially. The tech giant has been pushing strongly for the adoption of security measures on websites, and using security warnings in Chrome to force website hosters to switch to HTTPS. Earlier this year the tech changed Chrome to start telling users that they were visiting unsafe sites whenever they browsed pages without the HTTPS protocol implemented.
“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,” Emily Schechter, a Chrome security product manager, said last week.
Double entendres aside, when Chrome 69 is released in September, users will no longer see the green secure lock icon up in their browser. Instead if a user visits a website that has been deemed to be unsafe and/or not using the HTTPS protocol, they will instead be greeted with a red warning icon and ‘Not Secure’ highlighted.
Chrome will start displaying warnings in October of this year.