Half of all websites failing users’ security

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Web-users across Scotland are being put at risk by the failure of major websites to address a simple shortcoming in their security set-up.

The HTTPS ‘protocol’, by which information is sent online is the secure version of the more established HTTP and encrypts information sent to and from the website to your browser.

Without HTTPS, users’ information will be far easier to capture and read by an unscrupulous third party hacker – raising concerns for those filling out information on unsecured websites.

What’s more, around half of all websites[i] on the internet have failed to upgrade to the cost-free certification.

Gerry Grant, Chief Ethical Hacker with the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC), said: “It really is essential to make sure that when you submit data to a website via a form that the website is using HTTPS.

“If not, your personal details including usernames, emails, passwords, credit card information are at risk of an easy surrender to cyber criminals.”

It is now easier than ever for website owners to make this change. ‘Let’s Encrypt’ have been issuing the certificates for free to encourage more websites to implement HTTPS.

Gerry added: “A number of high profile organisations are still neglecting this simple measure and many smaller firms are yet to update to the encrypted protocol.

“There really is no excuse to not having this step in place to protect users of your website. The small cost has now dissolved so it is just case of a comparatively insignificant time investment.

“It is not a complicated process and Web Designers should be able to implement it very quickly and easily.

“In the mean time we can only recommend that organisations take this step and that web-users remain vigilant.”

While the primary concern of this protocol is the safety and security of those online, slack security is also likely to affect businesses’ bottom lines.

Google Chrome web browser now highlights sites not using HTTPS, showing a warning to users that the information is not secure, reducing trust for users.

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Taylor Wimpey have confirmed directly with local Councillor Nathan Wilson that the organisation retains its commitment to building a park and ride at Shieldmuir Train Station. In response to recent enquiries made by Councillor Wilson, Taylor Wimpey have advised that engagement is taking place with Network Rail over the latter’s approval procedures and that once this process is complete, work will be able to begin on site. The developer has informed the Motherwell Councillor that during the period of investigation undertaken since the commencement of building work was delayed in January 2018, an unrecorded service chamber has been discovered on site. The project cannot move forward until further clarification is provided on the nature of the service chamber and Taylor Wimpey are in the process of commissioning a contractor to assess the situation. The developer’s initial judgement is that this is likely a redundant service. A senior representative of the organisation has also informed Councillor Wilson that a member of the Taylor Wimpey production team will be sent out to inspect the vacant land following a request he made at the beginning of 2019 for maintenance work to be carried out on site should construction of the park and ride remain some time away. Councillor Nathan Wilson said: “Taylor Wimpey have communicated to me directly that the park and ride facility is a project that the organisation remains committed to delivering. “However, it goes without saying that the lengthy delay is still very disappointing and frustrating. “An unrecorded service chamber has been identified on site and progress is unable to be made until this has been investigated. “Taylor Wimpey have relayed to me that an on-site inspection of the vacant land will take place and I hold to the view that maintenance work should be carried out in the short term to improve it’s current condition. “I will continue to engage with the relevant stakeholders and re-inforce to them the importance of the park and ride project locally. Motherwell and Wishaw CAB takes home 40 per cent of the prizes

This is compounded by the fact that Google is now ranking sites with HTTPS above those that do not in their search results – an increasingly pressing issue in a digital marketplace.

The SBRC was set up with the objective of creating a secure Scotland for business to flourish, encompassing everything from cyber security to all aspects of premises and employee safety.