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February 1, 2017

Mozilla confirms half of web is now encrypted – but does that mean greater security?

Experts have argued that encryption creates tunnels for hackers which unprepared businesses cannot fight against.

By Tom Ball

Mozilla has announced that over half of web traffic is now encrypted, meaning that you are now more likely to see the reassuring lock symbol next to the URL more than ever before.

The green lock symbol indicates that the page you have accessed has come via HTTPS, the web’s secure protocol, rather than the ordinary HTTP.

Mozilla’s estimate is based on a two-week running average, so there is some room for this result to waver, but it is still significant nonetheless as a first.

HTTPS is not a complete shield however, but it does make it much harder for other entities to see what information you are accessing or posting on the internet.  An additional benefit of this protection is that the data you access is more likely to be reliable, unlike unencrypted areas, which are easily manipulated.

encrypted MozillaKevin Bocek, VP of security strategy and threat intelligence at Venafi said that the goal of keeping things private and safe has resulted in unintended consequences, as  ‘the security systems designed to defend businesses were destined for a world with little encryption’.

“Encryption creates tunnels that can’t be examined unless a business is prepared. This quickly creates huge blind spots in organisation’s defences, meaning that the millions spent on cyber security and detection tools could become redundant, unless businesses find a way to shine a light in there and monitor what is happening”.

This negates the success and reassurance of Mozilla’s findings, as potentially the danger will only increase with more encryption, as blind spots and dark areas multiply.

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“Cybercriminals around the world know this. Research has shown that 85% of CIOs are concerned that attackers are increasingly hiding in encrypted traffic, and they are right to be concerned,” said Bocek.

“Security experts believe that 70% of future attacks will use the encryption we’ve put in place to protect us’.

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