The Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS

I received an email from Ed Walker recently, containing info I thought worth sharing [I've edited it a bit for clarity]:

First, many people are unaware of the main difference between http:// and https://. It's all about keeping you secure! HTTP stands for Hyper Text Transport Protocol, which is just a fancy way of saying it's a protocol (a language, in a manner of speaking) for information to be passed back and forth between web servers and clients. The important thing is the letter S which makes the difference between HTTP and HTTPS.

The S (big surprise) stands for "Secure". If you visit a website or webpage, and look at the address in the web browser, it will likely begin with the following: http://. This means that the website is talking to your browser using the regular 'unsecure' language. In other words, it is possible for someone to "eavesdrop" on your computer's conversation with the website. If you fill out a form on the website, someone might see the information you send to that site.

This is why you never ever enter your credit card number in an http website! But if the web address begins with https://, that basically means your computer is talking to the website in a secure code that no one can eavesdrop on. This is also known as an "encrypted" connection.

You understand why this is so important, right?

If a website ever asks you to enter your credit card information (or any other personal information for that matter), you should automatically look to see if the web address begins with https://.

If it doesn't, NEVER enter sensitive information like a credit card, Social Security number, etc. This includes usernames/passwords for sensitive sites like banks and credit card accounts. One of the reasons I like Gmail so much is that it allows for a secure connection when simply logging in to your account. This can prevent someone from gaining access to your email account when browsing on a public wifi network!

Of course, feel free to pass this on (You may save someone a lot of grief)!

Have a great weekend everyone!!


Mac Classes - April '11

Happy April everyone! I can't believe it, it's snowing, again! Sheesh...

Since last month's request-based class schedule was marginally successful, I'm going back to picking the topics (keeping everyone's recent input in mind though). For a slightly different (but fun) approach, I've decided to do a sort of "Office Suite smackdown":

 For starters,
Saturday, April 16th, from 10 a.m. to noon,
I will be covering Apple's Numbers vs Microsoft Excel. Come learn the differences between Apple's and Microsoft's approach to the spreadsheet program.
This class carries a fee of $20.

 Then, on S
aturday, April 30th, from 10 a.m. to noon,
I will be covering Apple's Pages vs Microsoft Word. Come learn the differences between Apple's and Microsoft's approach to word processing. This class also carries a fee of $20.

***The above classes are always held in the small meeting room at Ridgway Town Hall, and are open to drop-ins, with no sign-up necessary***

Then, don't forget, there's...

 The regular
FREE "Overview of Mac OS X" class will take place on the last Wednesday of the month, April 27th from 5-7 p.m. These overview classes are held in the computer lab at the Ridgway Library. There are only eight seats available, and the Library has asked that I handle the sign ups, so give me a call at 970-417-8434 (or drop me an email) if you'd like to attend. (Be aware that first-timers take priority over anyone who has taken the class before, but there are often openings for repeaters).

There are six Macs in the computer lab, so only two of the eight attendees need their own laptops. This class is beginner-oriented, but we cover some different things every month; repeat attendees are encouraged (when there's room)!