Wikipedia to use encrypted connection as standard

Wikipedia to use encrypted connection as standard
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All sites associated with Wikimedia, including Wikipedia, will now use an encrypted protocol by default, the nonprofit group said on Friday.

The secure hypertext protocol ensures the connection between an individual user and a website is secure. It encrypts traffic between the user and the website, and in doing so, makes the data being transmitted less vulnerable to interception or monitoring.

“With this change, the nearly half a billion people who rely on Wikipedia and its sister projects every month will be able to share in the world’s knowledge more securely,” the organization said in a blog post.

Privacy advocates say all services should use the protocol, which has been adopted by a range of major websites.

The Obama administration said Monday that all federal government websites would only use the more secure connection.

“Unencrypted HTTP connections create a vulnerability and expose potentially sensitive information about users of unencrypted Federal websites and services,” Tony Scott, the government’s chief information officer, said in a blog post.

Some in the private sector are also moving toward the standard over concerns about governments spying on Web traffic and regular data breaches. Both Facebook and Google use the protocol as a default.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a major privacy group, has also produced a Web browser extension that forces browsers to use the secure version of a website if possible.