If you are a tech-wonk person who doesn’t mind spending time figuring out how to follow instructions related to website encryption, this post isn’t for you. You can go ahead and click somewhere else. You’ve already done what is explained below for free — except for the time you spent going through the options. That, or you have a valid philosophical objection to the way the “powers that be” have set a time bomb that will blow up the way links have worked since the beginning of web. For the rest of you (us), it will probably be best for you (us) to out-source this to the person who manages your (our) websites. It’s a more expensive option, but it may save you hassle and expense in the long run.

As we’ve shared before, Google and other web browser developers have been urging website owners to adopt a security measure that requires the owner to take measures that will turn the letters “HTTP” into “HTTPS.” (We provided a far techier explanation in our previous article, so we’re going to skip initials like TLS and SSL this time.)

Last Thursday (2.8.2018) Google announced that in July (2018) with the release of Chrome 68, any site that does not have the “S” showing in “HTTPS” is going to have their entire website displaying a “not secure” message in an “omnibox” that looks like this:

According to Google, there has been a significant acceptance of the security encryption that causes the “S” to appear after HTTP in a web browser:

  • Over 68% of Chrome traffic on both Android and Windows
  • Over 78% of Chrome traffic on both Chrome OS and Mac
  • 81 of the top 100 sites on the web use HTTPS by default

So what should you do if you are a techie person who built your website from scratch?

  1. We’ve already told you:  Click off this article.

What should you do if you pay a company or individuals to manage your website?

  1. Contact them to ask what you should do. (Some may handle a basic version of this for free.)
  2. Check out the option of a service like GoDaddy’s SSL service. It’s more expensive than some other options, but you can talk with real, live people who can help you figure out what to do. Say something like, “I’m NOT looking for a DIY (do it yourself) option. I need the DIFM (do it for me) version.

Want to still look into that free option?

Here’s what to do. Visit the two sites below. They are efforts created by companies and non-profit groups to encourage encryption for various reasons ranging from privacy advocacy to e-commerce.

Let’s Encrypt

A good place to find out everything you want to know about encrypting your website. Let’s Encrypt is a free, automated, and open certificate authority coordinated by the non-profit Internet Security Research Group (ISRG).

HTTPS Everywhere

HTTPS Everywhere is a Firefox, Chrome, and Opera extension that encrypts your communications with many major websites, making your browsing more secure. HTTPS Everywhere is produced as a collaboration between The Tor Project and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. According to HTTPS Everywhere, “Many websites offer some limited support for encryption over HTTPS, but make it difficult to use. The HTTPS Everywhere extension fixes these problems.”

What Does HTTPS Mean? And Why a Small Business Website Needs the ‘S’

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Small Business Checklist for Responding to the Equifax Security Breach | 2017

Also included, information from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission regarding the Equifax breach.

IRS Early Warning: Start Preparing for 2018 W-2 Email Phishing Scams

The IRS is already warning tax professionals and businesses to beware of W-2 scams in 2018.

How to Protect Your Business from Ransomware Attacks

Steps to take to keep your company’s computers from being taken hostage by criminal hackers.

How to Monitor Small Business Computer Security Alerts

When major security threats occur, here are places to turn for the latest updates.

11 Google Scams and Links to Google Support for Each | 2017

Advice for avoiding online scams that try to make you think they originate with Google.

IRS Issues Urgent Warning to Small Businesses: Beware of W-2 Phishing Scam Return | 2017

The IRS has issued an urgent warning about the return of an annual scam. This year it’s worse.

What Does HTTPS Mean? And Why a Small Business Website Needs the ‘S’

Get ready to add more security to your business website in 2017 and beyond.

Homeland Security Tips for Choosing Harder to Hack Passwords

In addition to password management applications and two-step validation, here are some tips for making your password harder to hack.

Passwords Are Stolen Everyday; How to Protect Yours From Being One of Them

Don’t wait until your password is stolen to follow these procedures.

How to Recognize and Avoid an Attempt to Crack Your Two-Step Verification Passwords

As attackers evolve, there are many steps businesses and consumers can take to protect themselves.

How Voice Recognition Software is Being Used to Detect Cyber Criminals

(In cyber crime), the weakest link is often the human. Software developers are trying to strengthen that link.

How to Avoid a New Cyber Attack Attempting to Access Small Business Bank  Funds

Cyber criminals are using a new attack against hundreds of small business employees.

Seven Resolutions for 2016 That Will Help Protect Your Small Business Computers

Simple steps you should take to help protect your computers and data in 2016.

Top Ten Free Antivirus Utilities For Your Small Business | 2016

PCMag.com has released its annual list of free antivirus utilities.

Most Small Businesses Have No Cyber Attack Response Plan

A survey reveals 80% of small business owners say their companies do not have a cyber attack response plan.

If Your Business Bank Account Gets Hacked, Your Bank May Blame You

For individual customers, banks must reimburse victims of cyber-fraud. For bank accounts of businesses, even one owned by one person, the same rule doesn’t apply.

Why You Should Still Use a Password Management System, Even if You Heard One Was ‘Hacked’

A breach of a password management system provides another opportunity to explain how a password management service is better than other methods.

Advice From Google on Avoiding Scams Directed at Small Businesses

A wide range of warnings for avoiding scams from con-artists claiming to be from Google.

More Tips for Actively Managing Your Passwords

More helpful tips and ideas for managing your passwords.

What Small Business Customers Should Know and Do About the JPMorgan Chase Cyberattack

From the bank’s SEC filing and information provided on Chase.com, this is what is currently known about the cyberattack and what the bank is recommending to its customers.

How Hackers Use ‘Social Engineering’ and How to Prevent It

Following the recent wave of celebrities having online accounts hacked, here is an explanation of “social engineering,” part of the method the cyber criminals likely used.

Ten Tips From the FCC for Improving Your Small Business Cyber Security

Ways to improve your small business cyber security from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

Password Protection Advice from SmallBusiness.com

Username and password protection is an ongoing requirement for small businesses. Here is a roundup of helpful advice on internet security and password management that has appeared recently on SmallBusiness.com

Ebay Asks 145 Million Users to Change Passwords

Ebay is asking its 145 million users to change their passwords because of a cyberattack that compromised a database containing encrypted passwords “and other non-financial data.”

What is Two-Step Verification and Why You Should Start Using Them

It’s incredibly easy and fast to use a two-step verification method to protect your online accounts. Here’s how they work and why you should use them.

How (and Why) to Use a Password Management Application

A lock on your front door doesn’t do you any good if you keep the key under the mat, just like the best security on the web won’t protect you if you have the same bad password on every site you visit.

How to Reduce the Odds of Being Hacked While Using Public Wifi

Getting in a solid work session at the local coffee shop may be a tempting idea, but it has its risks. Like getting your personal information stolen because you were careless on a public network.