October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month!
This month, Harbor will be releasing several blog posts related specifically to cyber security. Security is everyone’s responsibility! At Harbor, security is a huge part of our business, we take loads of precautions on the back end that you will never see, but there are always precautions that you, the user, should take to ensure that your organization’s safety is tip top! Personal responsibility is a big part of our security philosophy.
Google Chrome is celebrating it’s 10 year anniversary of its first launch; in that time, it has fast become a browser of choice for many users. But, in the past, Harbor has discouraged use of Chrome in favor of a much more secure Microsoft Edge. Edge has loads of built-in security features that work in conjunction with Windows, which of course, is also a Microsoft product. Harbor will still encourage you to give Edge a chance, because of those built-in features, but there is good news for Chrome users, the latest update has made Chrome much more secure!
The latest Chrome version, 69, was released in September 2018. There are many new features that update the look and feel of the browser, including, but not limited to:
- Colored Title Bars
- Customized backgrounds on the home page
- Custom Shortcuts on the new tab page
- Stronger, faster search results in the omnibox
- New layout for Android and IOS chrome apps, allowing you to use Chrome one-handed on your mobile devices
But, Harbor Computer Services’ main focus is the new security features. Some of these features enhance the user experience, and some are more practical, in assisting with passwords. Let’s take a deeper look.
Google Chrome has updated its password generator and autofill! While we still prefer Roboform as a password management tool because it’s portable, works across all browsers and can’t get left behind with a new computer Chrome is much better than it was. Chrome will now suggest a stronger password for you with its password generator. Though this feature isn’t exactly new to Chrome, because it was hidden before. Now just right-click a password field, and then click “Use Suggested password”. This password is auto-generated by Chrome. It will then save your password to its depository, specific to your Chrome account, and will be made available across all devices. The passwords suggested by Chrome are randomly generated and strong.
HTTP websites get flagged as insecure
We’ve been mentioning that your website needs updating for the past two years because of this change. Regular HTTP websites are now labeled as insecure and google is no longer indexing them. So if your website isn’t HTTPS then you will be losing visitors and will start to drop in the ratings. This update to Chrome further emphasizes this.
The biggest security update with Chrome version 69 is that it has flagged all “http” sites as being insecure. What does that mean? HTTP stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol, which is simply a “language” that computers use to communicate with each other over the internet. This was the only protocol up until 2003, when a secondary classification was introduced, adding an “S” to the end, making HTTPS. What does the “S” stand for? Secure!
Previous to Chrome 69, Chrome would indicate that a website was https with a green lock icon, next to the “https”, and if you were trying to access an “http” site, it would simply drop the lock icon. But with Chrome 69, it will say “Not Secure”. Here is an example:
What will happen if I visit an insecure site? Probably nothing, if you just land there and read what’s on the page. BUT… a steadfast rule to always follow: NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER enter your personal information into an insecure website. If an insecure site prompts you to enter passwords, your name, or other information, no matter how tempting, do not do it.
Though Harbor Computer Services still recommends Microsoft Edge as your browser, we understand that some applications simply work best in Chrome, and some users just prefer Chrome. As always, stay on alert when browsing the internet, and always look to see if a site is secure before continuing. This will protect your personal information as well as the information of your organization
– Sarah, Technical Trainer
About Harbor Computer Services
Harbor Computer Services is an IT firm servicing Southeastern Michigan. We work exclusively under contract with our clients to provide technology direction and either become the IT department or provide assistance to the internal IT they already have. We have won many awards for our work over the years, including the worldwide Microsoft Partner of the Year in 2010. We’re the smallest firm to have ever won this most prestigious award. Most recently we were recognized as one of the top 20 visionaries in small business IT by ChannelPro Magazine (2015). And in 2016 as the top Michigan IT firm for Manufacturing. There are a few simple things that make Harbor Computer Services the best choice for your business. •We are Professionals •We are Responsible •We are Concerned About The Success of Your Business