The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the TOR project have launched a new Firefox add-on that switches to encrypted connections whenever possible. The Firefox add-on comes preconfigured with seventeen websites and services from PayPal and Twitter to the New York Times, Facebook or Google Search.
Connections to those websites will automatically be switched to the encrypted https channel for extra security.
All available sites are enabled by default with the option to disable them individually. That’s great as some sites might not be offering all of their services if encryption is used. Google Search is an example where some functions are not available if encryption is used.
Why would anyone want to use encryption for these sites? Encryption makes sure that third parties, for instance users in the same computer network or the Internet Service Provider, are not able to “see” what the user is doing on a site. They do not see which pages are requested nor other forms of interaction.
But there are other benefits as well. HTTPS connections might sometimes work where http connections do not. This depends on the rule set of the computer network or individual computer system. It can sometimes also be used to bypass some web filters.
Websites that are offering encryption but are not already included in the add-on can be added by editing the XML file that is created during installation. Configuration examples are provided on the EFF website. A basic understanding of JavaSript regular expressions is needed to configure new web services to always use HTTPS.
HTTPS Everywhere is available from the Electronic Frontier Foundation website. Firefox will display a small notification window on top with an option to allow the host to offer add-ons for installation. The installation will only commence if the user clicks the allow button in the notification.
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Post tags: eff, firefox, firefox-add on, https, https everywhere, mozilla
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