2 years ago 🥁 for day 111, 2020 with 386 words.

Hardened Web Pt 2/n

Days sheltering in place: 35.
Spare rolls of toilet paper left: 2 (none in the shops either)

The first thing added to web browsers to make them more secure was end to end encryption. Generally only used for e-commerce for technical & financial reasons. Obviously needed to protect your credit card details from anybody else watching the network traffic. By watching I mean anybody on the same network as yourself and any of the networks your information passes through between your machine and the e-commerce hosts servers. This is still the case today for any non-encrypted connection of course and thankfully due to the efforts of many browser teams, encrypted connections are considered the norm.

Back in the day though there was a reason few sites offered encryption. There are / were many steps to setting up encryption for your web site:

  1. You needed an dedicated IP address ($)
  2. Your Server could only support encryption to one domain
  3. You needed hardware fast enough to handle the encryption
  4. You needed to buy an SSL Certificate ($$$)

Lots of barriers to discourage the average web server host from doing this. It was also rather technically involved. Thankfully Yahoo invented the idea of having one line shops at their site, linked to PayPal for payment and that helped the small merchants. Nowadays you have Wix and Shopify to fill those need.

Also a lot has changed in 20 years. Now to get a secure web server up and running:

  1. You can do it on a shared IP Address (thanks to SNI)
  2. You can therefore handle multiple domains on one server
  3. All hardware is fast enough to handle this stuff
  4. SSL certificates are now free.
  5. Browsers encourage you to use SSL connections

The above points are the ones that changed things so almost all web-sites run on encrypted connections - including this one. If you write a private post nobody sees it. It’s end-to-end encrypted as it flows over the network to @owen’s server. Sure it’s stored unencrypted in a secure database - or at least I assume so - but Owen doesn’t read your private posts anyway.

This is true for end-to-end encryption. Something that is claimed by many but actually isn’t by a bunch. More on that later.

To be continued

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By Yorick Phoenix 🥁

Chief WriteTogether Bug Finder & character stringer. Generally, to create computer code, but sometimes actual words and paragraphs. Listens to lots of music, takes lots of photos, & invests in stocks for the long haul.

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