How the S in HTTPS protects you online

Aug 30, 2023, 11:11 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — What makes you feel secure – a locked front door? An armed home alarm system? An attack cat? How about the letter S?

The URLs of most websites you go to start with HTTP or HTTPS. And that S is important.

“That S indicates that it’s a secured encrypted website to protect your information,” said David Nuti, a senior vice president at Nord Security.

Nuti said whenever he shops online – or just surfs the web – he always looks for that S in the website’s URL.

So does Michael Bruemmer, a vice president at Experian and head of its Global Data Breach Resolution. He said that S means more than it used to.

“The technology, specifically for the HTTPS, has gone up from 128-bit encryption to 256-bit encryption,” he said.

That level of encryption jumbles up all your bank and payment information as it’s transmitted between your computer and the retailer’s server. A hacker who intercepts that data, can’t read it without a very hard-to-guess key.

And while the S can keep hackers out, it doesn’t help if you are duped into just sending them your money or identity and that happens a lot!

Of the 2.4 million fraud reports filed with the Federal Trade Commission last year, online shopping scams ranked second highest.

At the risk of making this story sound like a commercial for big and familiar brand retailers, Bruemmer’s advice when shopping online?

“I would always use a name-brand website when you’re shopping online or going to do any financial transactions,” he said.

And be on the lookout for more than just the S in a website’s URL. Crooks love to create spoof websites that make you think you’re shopping with one of the big boys, Nuti said.

“They create a replica of the site to get you to purchase something, provide all of your purchasing information,” he warned.

According to the FTC, losses to bad guys posing as businesses soared to $660 million last year – more than triple the amount just two years ago.

KSL 5 TV Live

Get Gephardt

Student loan confusion...

Matt Gephardt

Frustrated student-loan borrowers brace for payments to resume, but they have repayment options

People with student debt have spent the last several years in a political tug-of-war so it's hard to figure out what is and isn't happening. KSL Investigates hopes to answer those questions.

3 days ago

COVID tests sent over to Catherine Thompson without her asking for them....

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Feds warn of evolving scam targeting Medicare users by sending unwanted COVID test kits

KSL Investigators have been hearing from Utahns that COVID-19 test kits are showing up in their mailboxes, out-of-the-blue.

5 days ago

File - Credit cards as seen July 1, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. A low credit score can hurt your ability...

Matt Gephardt

How loopholes in the fine print of credit cards can thwart hopes for rewards points or cash back

The promise of rewards induces lots of folks to sign up for credit cards, but some of those are not getting all the rewards they may think they are.

9 days ago

Matt Gephardt investigates a flooding issue at a Herriman home. Builders between different properti...

Matt Gephardt and Cindy St. Clair, KSL TV

Homeowner asks Gephardt: Who pays when water from a neighbor’s property causes damage?

A Herriman man was caught in the middle of finger-pointing when water damaged his basement. Who pays when the water comes from a neighbor’s land? Matt Gephardt finds answers.

10 days ago

The VacationBuilder sign saying they moved to remote offices....

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Utah-based tour operator files for bankruptcy: what’s next for those owed money for cancelled tours?

A Utah-based travel company abruptly canceled overseas tours of many viewers without offering refunds. Now, that company has filed for bankruptcy protection. So, what happens next?

12 days ago

What you need to know about car insurance for college students...

Matt Gephardt

Gephardt Busts Inflation: What you need to know about car insurance for college students

Goodbye to sleeping in, summer tans, and over-worn flip flops. Heading off to college means changes to routines and maybe car insurance.

15 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

rodeo contestant on a saddle bronc...


Get Ready for the Days of ‘47 Rodeo!

The Days of '47 Rodeo is a series of events everyone in the family can enjoy, with world-class rodeo contestants vying for the gold medal.

Electric LED Lightbulb Change In Light At Home...

Lighting Design

How to Know When to Upgrade Your Lighting

This guide explores indicators that suggest it’s time for a lighting upgrade with tips to make an informed decision when you’re ready to buy. 

Brunette guy in headphones playing games on his desktop computer...

PC Laptops

Looking For a New Computer? Use This Desktop Buying Guide

Choosing a new desktop computer can come with a lot of questions, so we created this desktop buying guide.

How the S in HTTPS protects you online