One of the misconceptions about computers (and the internet in general) that many people have is this idea that things should work and look just as they did yesterday and the day before. I find myself explaining that the computer isn’t a static, stationary object like a VCR or a toaster but a dynamic moving target that changes every time something gets updated.

People are often surprised, shocked even, when they visit a site they go to every day only to find something has changed and nine out of 10 times the change came from a behind the scenes update that they didn’t have anything to do with. Often, by the time I get the call, hours have been wasted by the user trying to figure out what’s wrong on their end because “it’s never done this before.” The fact of the matter is every time an update happens on your computer or on the computer hosting a website that you visit often, code is being re written and things are changing. Now, you may not be able to see any evidence of a change but sometimes changes can have a big impact on the way a site looks or behaves.

I recently received the following email message from one of my readers and (with permission from Priscilla) I thought I’d share the exchange as it’s a perfect example of what can happen when a change is made behind the scenes and just how big an impact some changes can be.

To: Sean McCarthy

Subject: Question about Secure Connection

I am currently using Google Chrome as my web browser.  When I go to some websites, instead of getting the secure Icon (lock), I get an "i" icon.  When I click on that it says the website doesn't have a secure connection.  However, if I use Internet Explorer, I don't have a problem.  What is the problem that I am having with Google Chrome?

Thank you in advance for your help.

Priscilla

Hi Priscilla, thanks for writing.

You actually aren’t seeing (or having) a problem. Google made a decision a while back that has angered just about the entire world wide web community. Google decided that for ANY site that didn’t have an “SSL Certificate” it (Chrome) would list the site in the info box (the “I” icon) as “un secure.”

Since most sites don’t use SSL because they are just “static” brochure like pages, they don’t need the SSL security certificate as there is no data being passed back and forth that needs to be secured. Usually SSL or “secure” sites are in place for sites where you have to log in and pass information back and forth like facebook or gmail or banking. Most other sites that don’t require logging in just plain don’t need an SSL certificate.

When Google decided to just mark any site not using SSL as “un secure,” they essentially blackballed millions of websites overnight.

Needless to say this has angered a whole lot of website owners.

The bottom line is there is nothing wrong – Internet Explorer, Edge, Firefox don’t list sites without certificates as “un secure” because those browsers don’t care. It’s a Google Chrome thing and nothing to worry about.

I hope that helps.

Sean

Thank you for your reply.  It made me feel better.  Hope you are having a great weekend.

Priscilla

Again, this a perfect example of how one behind the scenes update changed the way Chrome handles plain old HTTP sites and suddenly, sites that have been “fine” for years are being presented as “un secure.” And since security is such a big issue, suddenly having every standard HTTP site present as “un secure” has many people really concerned.

Sometimes I long for the good old days when updates were somewhat controllable. Of course we’ve never really had any control over when a website like Yahoo or MSN updates but there was a time when we had a little more control over when a program on our own “local” machine updates. Now it seems like every program installed wants to “phone home” the minute it’s launched to see if there’s an update. And with constant updates there is constant change. That’s just the way it is.

Sean McCarthy fixes computers. He can be reached at 888-752-9049 or help@ComputeThisOnline.com (No Hyphens!)

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