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Google to prioritise secure websites in search results

Google has announced today that it will give preference to more secure websites on its search rankings from now on.

The search engine has been testing pages that have HTTPS encryption by default and will now roll out across its algorithms – a move which will encourage website developers to make their sites securer for visitors.

A spokesperson from Google, said: “We’ve seen positive results, so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal.”

One of the biggest problems facing internet users is hacking, but with encryption the data is digitally scrambled when it passed between a user’s device and an online service, preventing others eavesdropping on the information.

Many websites already have these precautions in place, with secure sites being easily identified thanks to the padlock symbol used at the beginning of the HTTPS – with the “S” standing for secure.

Additional burden

Despite this move however, adding encryption has placed a further burden on many firms across the web both in terms of time and costs.

In addition to this, serving sites over HTTPS does incur an additional overhead as webservers need to process extra information. This could negate any advantages gained by switching to a secure connection.

However, Jason Hart, of the data protection consultancy SafeNet, believes that the technology is in place to avoid this: “Previously organisations have shied away from encryption due to cost concerns or fears of slowing website response times,”

“But there are now high-speed encryption technologies available that mean cost and speed need no longer be an issue.

“So there really is no excuse for any data to be transmitted or stored in plain text.”

Image courtesy of the BBC from Getty Images