HTTPS traffic increasing, says Google report

News by Jeremy Seth Davis

Google's latest Transparency Report includes a section that measures traffic on HTTPS web pages.

As Google continues to push for widespread migration across the web to HTTPS, the search giant has released its latest Transparency Report, which now includes a section that measures traffic on HTTPS web pages.

Sixty-seven percent of pages viewed on Chrome OS are HTTPS web pages, the report stated, as of 31 October 2016. Google also found that Chrome OS users on average spend 74 percent of their time on HTTPS pages. The amount of time that Chrome OS users spend on HTTPS pages is more than time spent on unencrypted web pages, a trend that is increasing among both desktop and mobile users.

“A web with ubiquitous HTTPS is not the distant future,” wrote Google's Chrome security and privacy researcher Adrienne Porter Felt and product manager Emily Schechter on the Google Security blog. “It's happening now, with secure browsing becoming standard for users of Chrome.”

HTTPS Google advertisements increased “dramatically” over the past three years, the blog stated. “All ads that come from any Google source always support HTTPS, including AdWords, AdSense, or DoubleClick Ad Exchange,” wrote Google's Porter Felt and Schechter.

However, this development has also come with its own challenges, as Google AdWords has repeatedly been used by cyber-criminals to launch malvertising campaigns.

“The progess towards increased HTTPS is a “tremendous step forward” for privacy and trust online, according to Venafi's VP of security strategy and threat intelligence Kevin Bocek. However, he warned that “encrypted traffic has unintended consequences.”

“Gartner expects 50 percent of networks attacks to use SSL/TLS by next year but less than 20 percent of organisations are able to decrypt some of this traffic,” Bocek wrote in an email to SC Media. “Most organisations have little to no visibility over the use of keys and certificates that turn on HTTPS.”

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