FAILED icon! Google Chrome to TAKE AWAY HTTPS lock icon; shocking reason why | Tech News

FAILED icon! Google Chrome to TAKE AWAY HTTPS lock icon; shocking reason why

Google has announced that it will be removing the lock icon in its Chrome browser which indicates whether a website is using a secure HTTPS or not. Know the reason and what comes next.

| Updated on: May 03 2023, 14:52 IST
In Pics: Know 5 ways to stay safe online on Google Chrome
Google Chrome
1/5 Keep strong password: Using a password manager (even if it’s not Google’s) will help you store and use a strong, unique password for each site you log into. Google Password Manager can suggest and save a strong, unique password of gobbledygook (like KZamPPzj43T9mQM). Then, Chrome will autofill the password next time you need it — on any device. Chrome should suggest a new strong password when creating a new account, or you can always right click in the password field and click “Suggest Password.” (Pixabay)
Google Chrome
2/5 Keep updating Google Chrome: Like every other application, security engineers work to keep Chrome safe against the latest threats, by working on updates and improvements. And these updates and improvements come out at least every two weeks. Chrome checks for updates regularly, and when one is available, Chrome downloads it immediately and then applies it when you close and reopen the browser. But if you haven’t closed your browser in a while, you may have a pending update visible in the upper right corner of the browser window. To apply the update, click “Update” or simply close and reopen Chrome. (REUTERS)
Google Chrome
3/5 Keep note of Chrome's download warnings: Chrome warns its users about dangerous downloads when possible. When you see a download warning, you can still download the file, but it is recommended not to do so. Computers are often compromised by malware because people misunderstand or ignore warnings. (Pixabay)
Google Chrome
4/5 Use 2-step verification: Two-factor authentication can use your phone to add an extra step to verify that it's you when you sign in. Signing in with both a password and a second step on your phone protects against password-stealing scams. If you sign into Chrome with a Google Account, be sure that you’re enrolled in 2-step verification to protect your account. (Unsplash)
Google Chrome
5/5 Use the browser with Enhanced security protection: To be even more secure while browsing the web in Chrome, turn on Enhanced Safe Browsing protection in your Chrome settings. It substantially increases protection from dangerous websites and downloads by sharing real-time data with Safe Browsing. If you’re signed in, Chrome and other Google apps you use (Gmail, Drive, etc) will be able to provide improved protection based on a holistic view of threats you encounter on the web and attacks against your Google Account, according to the blog post. (Pixabay)
Google Chrome
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Google Chrome will not feature the HTTPS lock icon anymore. It is going to be replaced with the tune icon instead. (Unsplash)

Ever since Google launched its own browser, Google Chrome in 2008, it has been a big proponent of HTTPS adoption. HTTPS or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure is an extension of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and is an encrypted protocol that gives the user more security and privacy. And to indicate whether a website uses this protocol or not, Chrome displays a lock icon in the address bar. However, now, Google has announced that it will be removing this icon.

In an announcement yesterday, May 2, Google stated, “When HTTPS was rare, the lock icon drew attention to the additional protections provided by HTTPS. Today, this is no longer true, and HTTPS is the norm, not the exception, and we've been evolving Chrome accordingly”.

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Adding to the backdrop of this evolution, Google mentioned how the lock icon has been around ever since the early versions of Netscape in the 1990s and Google Chrome has participated in the adoption of HTTPS protocol since it was first launched. Over the years, Google noted, HTTPS has become the norm and over 95% of page loads in Chrome on Windows are over a secure channel using HTTPS. As a result, using the lock icon has become not only redundant but also dangerous.

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The problem with the lock icon

Google explained that the lock icon, by its design, indicates trustworthiness which can be a big problem. “Despite our best efforts, our research in 2021 showed that only 11% of study participants correctly understood the precise meaning of the lock icon. This misunderstanding is not harmless — nearly all phishing sites use HTTPS, and therefore also display the lock icon. Misunderstandings are so pervasive that many organizations, including the FBI, publish explicit guidance that the lock icon is not an indicator of website safety”, it added.

As such, letting the lock icon continue could cause more harm than good. But the icon is not going to be eliminated entirely. Instead, it will undergo a design overhaul.

What comes after the lock icon?

Google will be replacing the lock icon with a tune icon, which is designed in line with the Material You theme from Android 13. The decision to use the tune icon was made by Google due to three reasons. First, it does not show trustworthiness; second, it is more obviously clickable; and third, it is commonly associated with settings or other controls.

Google also revealed that the new icon is scheduled to launch in Chrome 117, which releases in early September 2023, as part of a general design refresh for desktop platforms.

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First Published Date: 03 May, 13:27 IST