HTTPS is an internet protocol that encrypts data between a user’s device and a website. It utilizes Transport Layer Security (TLS), previously known as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), to protect data from eavesdropping and tampering. A padlock symbol in the browser’s address bar indicates a secure HTTPS connection.
See also: HTTP
Short history of HTTPS
HTTPS originated in the early 1990s with the rise of the World Wide Web, introduced by Netscape in 1994 to secure online data transmission. Its widespread adoption accelerated in the mid-2010s, notably driven by Google’s emphasis on HTTPS for search ranking. Today, HTTPS is a web security standard crucial for protecting user data and privacy across the internet.
Vulnerabilities of HTTPS
- SSL/TLS vulnerabilities. HTTPS can be compromised through weaknesses in older versions of SSL and TLS protocols, like the POODLE and Heartbleed bugs. These vulnerabilities allow attackers to decrypt secure data or steal sensitive information.
- Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attacks. Despite HTTPS encryption, MitM attacks can occur if attackers manage to intercept the SSL certificate issuance process or hijack the connection before encryption is established.
- Misconfigured certificates. HTTPS security relies heavily on properly configured SSL/TLS certificates; misconfigurations or expired certificates can lead to vulnerabilities. Attackers can exploit these misconfigurations to launch phishing attacks or impersonate legitimate websites.