Every Mac, iPhone, or iPad comes with at least one browser. Safari. A large percentage of Apple customers also download and use Google’s popular Chrome browser. That may explain why politics is such a mess.
For much of the past year or so I’ve been using Mozilla’s Firefox as a faster-than-Safari replacement, and kicked Chrome to the curb, thanks to Google incessant privacy abuses. I found a search engine better than Google. All that focus on privacy got me to wondering about security.
Good. Bad. Ugly.
As with almost anything constructed by humans, the internet as we know it– the world wide web– is good, bad, ugly, and occasionally, beautiful. How secure is the internet? How secure are those websites you visit and how would you know?
The answer is simple. You never know for sure because website security can be seen, but not always trusted. Over the past year both Google and Safari began to identify websites which are not secure. Here’s an example. Click the link and Safari gives you a warning in the URL bar at the top.
That’s not necessarily bad because all that is happening is Safari– and Google Chrome– are checking the websites basic protocol. HTTP is not secure. HTTPS is secure. The website linked to above is HTTP, not HTTPS, but that doesn’t mean there is a problem. It only means there is not a secure connection between your browser and the website’s server.
When you go to Amazon or Google you will see a small padlock icon in the URL bar. That signifies HTTPS which is a secure connection between your browser and the website. Mac360 sports a padlock, too, so you’re not in any danger during your visit here, either. All the AppleVillagers websites use HTTPS, so they’re secure, too.
When you shop online or visit a banking site or simply visit a popular website you’re likely to see the padlock icon, too.
Unfortunately, that’s about where the security ends.
Websites these days are packed with trackers of all kinds. There are advertisements themselves which are attached to a webpage. Behind the scenes, where you cannot see them, are perhaps dozens of additional tracking links– trackers– which gather information from you while you visit a website. As if that isn’t bad enough, most websites these days employ various analytics apps which also track you while you’re online– Google’s Analytics app is the worst offender.
Those blockers help a browser to download webpages faster and use up less bandwidth. Ads and trackers take up bandwidth and time, and a good blocker gets rid of both.
That brings me back to Firefox.
Already it is faster than Safari or Chrome, but it comes with built-in tracker blockers, and soon, it will have the same notification now used in Safari and Chrome to display a Not Secure sticker in the URL bar.
The Apple Villagers websites use HTTPS so all are secure. Each webpage has a few advertisers, too, but not ad trackers, not trackers, no cookies, and not even an analytics tracker.
Notice how fast our website pages load compared to others?
Yes, websites can be made secure, blazing fast to load into your browser, and have ads without trackers.