BesThere are more and more security threats that keep popping on every other day. Being online is never safe. Google is one of the world’s topmost search engines and has billions of users some of whose livelihood is dependent on it. There are hundreds of confidential information passing through the search engine. The number is vast but it is vital for Google to maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the user information. To maintain the information security Google has declared to block mixed content from its search engine
What is mixed content?
Mixed content is something that uses a mixture of the Http and Https protocol, the later more secure than the former. When a user requests a webpage an HTML resource is requested. Then the webserver searches for that HTML content and gives it to the user. Sometimes the HTML page is not enough to display all the contents of the webpage so the HTML content page is included with links to other resources like images and such. The mixed content loads the initial HTML commands through the HTTPS protocol and then uses the insecure HTTP connection to bring in other resources such as audio, video, images, etc. This is known as mixed content. There are many dangers in this activity that could lead to the stealing of much valuable information.
HTTPS protocol is considered secure and any website that does not use it is deemed as an unsecured website explicitly by Google. It also displays the notification which says why the customers must not reveal any confidential information to that site.
Why HTTP is considered insecure?
The HTTP protocol is perfectly fine if you are just browsing the webpage. It only becomes a problem when you are transmitting sensitive information through it. The information is traveled through the network in clear text which is easily accessible to any malicious middlemen in the network. The data can be understood and accessed by anyone in the network looking for it. HTTPS on the other hand encrypts the communication with SSL(Secure Sockets Layer). This will make sure that the data moves through the network in ciphertext which will render useless to the attackers upon capturing because it would not make any sense to them.
HTTPS is one of the Transport Layer Security Protocol (TLS) which offers protection to the users in three different layers. That is it offers encryption, integrity, and authentication. Encryption ensures confidentiality. These three are some of the very important principles of information security.
Encryption makes your data strong and protected. This is the conversion of plaintext into ciphertext. The ciphertext is a text format in which your data will be secure and anybody bypassing you will not be able to see it. This will prevent malicious users from overhearing your conversations and will keep all the confidential information you enter online securely
The integrity of your data assures you your data has not gone through any modifications by some malicious third party. This will enable you to receive your data the way it was intended to be received by you.
This will prove that you are communicating with the actual website that you intended to connect with and not some imposter. This will prevent one of the most prevalent web attacks known as the man in the middle attacks.
There are two different types of mixed content available. One is active mixed content and the other is passive mixed content. The active mixed content is the type of content that is most useful to the attacker. By using this, the attacker can gain complete control over your website. They can obtain sensitive information like login credentials and credit card details from the users.
A passive attack is when they can make changes to your website by replacing images, contact numbers, and such.
Why is Google blocking this content?
Google has been suggesting adopting web security practices for along time now. Web security is important now more than ever. In the year 2014 Google declared that they will prioritize HTTPS using websites while ranking. Later the Google Chrome version 68 marked the websites that do not use HTTPS has not secure. With mixed content, you are viewing a website that somehow both insecure and secure at the same time. Even though this action might affect a lot of websites and thereby businesses don’t you want to give your users a safe and secure experience thus building a very good reputation. You do not want some imposter ruining your business and taking all your customers. These are some of the reasons why Google is pushing on this issue and blocking all the mixed content.
If you know the importance of HTTPS that you are using it on your website you should be aware that it is best to pull all the content through that connection. Now if the website owner asks the question of whether using HTTPS affects SEO, there is nothing to worry about. Since Google has made it clear that they prioritize content that is secure you can expect a good ranking on the search results page.
Migrating from HTTP to HTTPS:
Before blocking mixed content there are some websites that do not use the HTTPS service at all. For them, it is important to migrate from HTTP to HTTPS. To do so you must obtain a certificate from the certificate authority, who will make sure that your website belongs to a legitimate organization and no other entity can pose as you. Google advises that you obtain this certificate from a well known and genuine authority who also offers technical support. You must apt for a key that is 2048 bits and if you have a 1024 bit key upgrade it to 2048 bits. While choosing the certificate, you as a website owner must choose based on your requirements like choosing a single certificate for a single secure origin or multi-domain for multiple domains and wildcard certificates for websites with dynamic subdomains.
Google has made recommendations to use HSTS(HTTPS Strict Transport Security), this will enable the users to request for websites with HTTPS regardless of what the user types in the search bar. Besides, Google assures that taking all of these measures will ensure the clients are served secured content.
Google also advises avoiding some common mistakes such as using expired certificates, using old protocol versions, and mixing security elements. Google says that migrating from HTTP to HTTPS can cause some problems with the traffic numbers but they are only temporary. After this transformation, your site will be so much more secure and reliable.
How to detect and correct mixed content warnings?
One of the ways to detect and correct the mixed content warning is to always use the HTTPS URL on your site or else your site is loading through an insecure connection. Another way is to use some online tools to detect it. You as the website owner must also know the user perspective so try to go and see your website like how a normal user might see it. This will clear you of any suspicions.
Even if you do not want to follow all the rules Google dictates, it is better to avoid the appearance of mixed content on your website for your business’ sake.