“HTTPS” What?

Yesterday’s phone call with Boswell Capital (…see yesterday’s 5 & 6pm….”Boswell Capital” on web…) was probably the most outrageous I’ve had.

When I first called and introduced myself as “Casey Roman from WECT”…the representative’s first question was, “Do you know Dave Reynolds?”

Well…yes I do….he’s a reporter from Star News.

 

I asked “Why?” The representative said that, “That was just something they have to ask people.” Turns out Dave was hot on their trail too…..I thought the question was rather interesting!

Huh? You mean EACH caller gets a Q&A as to whether or not they know Dave? When I shared this with Dave…we both couldn’t help but laugh.

The Representative said that all media inquiries had to go to Customer Service. When I called that agent, we engaged in twenty minutes of back and forth questioning about the validity of his company…and the security of their website.

Kathy Graham of the Coastal Carolina BBB told me the site was NOT secure (www.boswellcapital.net). I asked her how she knew.  That’s when she told me about “https.” I’ve never heard of this before but what she shared with me will change how I view and participate on web pages.

Here’s more:

HTTPS = “HyperText Transfer Protocol with Secure Sockets Layer” (say THAT…one time fast….)

Its a web protocol used with encrypted information (encryption is a a data conversion that ensures the safest method of information transfer). If ever you are using a site and providing your credit card information, social security number…or really ANY critical identity information…be sure to look for the “HTTPS” in the search bar where you would more commonly see “http.” You’ll also want to look for a little “lock” icon (it literally looks like a lock in the search bar.

The more common HTTP sends your information over the internet in what’s known as “plain text.” Plain text can be intercepted by hackers using a “packet sniffer.” A packet sniffer is basically evesdropping software used on a computer network. When your credit card information or SSN goes on the site…and you hit enter…you could be broadcasting your identity.

 

So before you go online shopping…or before you input your ID…take a quick look in the browser for these clues that your identity is safe.

 

When I asked Boswell why they were asking for SSN’s on an unsecured site, they told me that OF COURSE the data was secure! They asked me if *I* was personally able to see other people’s account information…I explained, “NO, because I’m not a hacker..using hacker software.” They said that because *I* could not do it from my desktop..that proved their point that the site was safe. Despite my efforts to explain…it didn’t do any good. They had no idea what “https” was…

 

So look for the “s” to make sure you’re secure!

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1 Comment

  1. Something else to consider – When you see https in your browser, you should also see a “lock” type icon, which is typically in the lower right hand corner of your browser. This indicates the presence of a public key certificate. If you double click this lock icon – it will show you who the certificate was issued to. It may be helpful to double check that the certificate was issued to the company you are expecting to do business with – and that you haven’t clicked on a hijacked URL.

    More info about certificates can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_certificate


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