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How Google’s October update could affect your website

With cyber-crime getting ever more sophisticated, Google is about to respond by making some fairly impactful changes. Where once SSL Certification was only connected with transactional websites or those with large amounts of personal data, it is now something that your average business website will need to consider.

From October 1st, any website that doesn’t have an SSL Certificate will show a ‘Not Secure’ warning when accessed via Google Chrome. The message will appear in red next to the web address and this could prove quite off-putting to potential visitors.

Google Chrome accounts for over 50% of desktop browsers so SSL Certification is now something we’re advising every business to think about.

But what is SSL?

Have you ever noticed that some URLs start with "http://" while others start with "https://"? Perhaps you have noticed an extra "s" when browsing websites that require giving financial or sensitive information, paying bills online for example.

That little ‘s’ means your connection to that website is encrypted so hackers can't intercept any of your data. The technology behind that ‘s’ is called SSL, which stands for Secure Sockets Layer.

The accepted definition is:

SSL is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browser remain private.

When you enter information into a webpage without SSL, it can be intercepted by a prying hacker and your information can be stolen.

This information could be anything from basic details such as your email address or more private information relating to your bank details. This interception is often referred to as a “man-in-the-middle attack” and can be carried out in a number of ways. An SSL certificate helps prevent this.

When you visit a website that's encrypted with SSL, your browser will form a connection with the webserver, look at the SSL certificate, and then bind together your browser and the server. This binding connection is secure so that no one besides you and the website you're submitting the information to can see or access what you type into your browser.

This connection happens instantly and doesn't require you to do anything. You simply have to visit a website with SSL, and your connection will automatically be secured.

There are benefits for SEO as well, as since 2014, SSL has been part of Google's search ranking algorithm – click here for more info.

The experienced web team at Bluestorm can help secure your website by procuring and installing an SSL certificate on your behalf. To find out more please contact dan.murphy@bluestormdesign.co.uk or call 01482 64934.

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