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We hear about the importance of encrypting our files, hard drives, even text messages. But are you also encrypting your Internet activity?
While browsing the internet, make sure you only fill in forms on websites that have addresses starting with “https” (the “s” stands for secure). Sites with plain HTTP don’t encrypt your data and are vulnerable to eavesdropping.
However, HTTPS does not conceal everything, and an experienced eavesdropper with the right software will still be able to monitor the sites and URLs you’re visiting (which sometimes contain sensitive information).
The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s HTTPS Everywhere extension for FireFox, Chrome, and Opera adds a layer of security by encrypting your traffic when you visit major websites.
HTTPS Everywhere is produced as a collaboration between The Tor Project and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Many sites on the web offer some limited support for encryption over HTTPS, but make it difficult to use.
For instance, they may default to unencrypted HTTP, or fill encrypted pages with links that go back to the unencrypted site. The HTTPS Everywhere extension fixes these problems by using clever technology to rewrite requests to these sites to HTTPS.
Internet technologists have always known that HTTP is insecure, causing many risks to users. Because HTTP traffic is unencrypted, any data sent over HTTP can be read and modified by anyone who has access to the network. As revealed by the Snowden NSA surveillance documents, HTTP traffic can also be collected and searched by government agencies without notice to users or webmasters.
HTTPS provides the baseline of safety for web application users, and there is no performance- or cost-based reason to stick with HTTP. However, some people report that installing HTTPS Everywhere gives them the error: “The addon could not be downloaded because of a connection failure on http://www.eff.org.” See this FAQ entry for help.
Be Safe – Backup Your Data Regularly!
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