Apple Moves HTTPS Uptake Forward

Jun 15, 2016 1:07 PM PST

LOS ANGELES — As the web moves towards its more secure future, leading tech companies are taking a stance on the necessity and speed of the technology’s adoption.

Google has long been a proponent of securing the web, taking tangible steps such as reportedly raising HTTPS sites in its search rankings, over HTTP sites. Some website owners have met this proactive stance with criticism, but it is a vital move for making all aspects of ecommerce safer, and the next step in the web’s development.

Recently, Apple joined the fray as it announced a Jan. 1, 2017, deadline for app developers to adopt App Transport Security (ATS), if they want their apps listed in Apple’s App Store.

This security feature, released as part of iOS 9, requires apps to use a secure HTTPS connection when connecting to web servers, rather than unsecure HTTP. This helps protect user data by encrypting it.

“At the end of 2016, Apple will make ATS mandatory for all developers who hope to submit their apps to the App Store,” Kate Conger wrote for TechCrunch. “App developers who have been wondering when the hammer would drop on HTTP can rest a little easier now that they have a clear deadline, and users can relax with the knowledge that secure connections will be forced in all of the apps on their iPhones and iPads.”

While desktop-based web browsers provide indications of secure status, such as a green address bar, lock icon and the https:// URL designation, a mobile app’s security status is often harder to determine.

Conger notes that in requiring developers to use HTTPS, Apple is joining a larger movement to secure data as it travels online.

“While the secure protocol is common on login pages,” Conger adds, “many websites still use plain old HTTP for most of their connections. That’s slowly changing as many sites make the arduous transition to HTTPS.”

For more information, check out the U.S. government's protocols for HTTPS adoption,

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