The Times and The Sunday Times are now HTTPS
Two days ago, many months of hard work by multiple teams in our Technology department came to fruition. At 1am they flipped a switch which added an “s” and a tiny green lock in the address bar when you visit our website, accompanied by a reassuring message: “Secure.”
We moved the Times and Sunday Times domains to HTTPS, and here is why we’re quietly celebrating.
As a reader of The Times and The Sunday Times, why does this matter?
Your traffic and web browsing history is constantly logged by internet service providers (ISPs) under the provisions of the Investigatory Powers Act 2016. Even if you don’t care about intelligence agencies looking at your history, this data is valuable and a premium product, as Americans are realising since President Trump repealed rules that required ISPs to seek and obtain permission from customers to collect and use such data on browsing habits.
HTTPs is a first step in protecting readers against this.
You know it’s us
HTTPS prevents someone tampering with our journalism before you see it.
When you read us, we want to be sure our words reach you unaltered.
More privacy for you
It is generally easy if you’re connected to a computer network to listen to what’s going on. Think of a coffee shop, the Tube wifi, or your office. What you read says a lot about you, and HTTPS will protect you against eavesdropping.
Our domain (thetimes.co.uk) will still be sent unencrypted on the network, but specific articles or search keywords that would reveal what you’re looking at won’t.
Safer handling of your information
We have protected personal details such as your email address, postal address and credit card in this way for years; now all your browsing and reading will be as safe as your login and personal information.
Malware and code that could harm your computer, as well as unwanted ads, can be injected by many parties when you look at an unsecured website. For example, free wifi hotspots at airports sell big ad banners they’ll sneakily inject on the websites you’re looking at. Ad spaces can be targeted by hackers to exploit their legitimate placement on trusted websites to inject code directly inside your browser.
Not any more on HTTPS.
With a complex website like ours, containing articles, interactive content and ads from many different systems, this simple switch has taken several months of hard work. But we’re proud to be able to make the web safer for our readers. Later this year, we’ll be building on HTTPS to offer new ways for sources to contact The Times and The Sunday Times in confidence — putting privacy and security at the heart of our journalism.
Better performance and enhanced functionality
With HTTPS we’ve also enabled HTTP/2.0, a major revision of the HTTP network protocol used by the World Wide Web. For our readers, it means better browser performance and the unlocking of additional browser functionality that will enable us to further enhance the reader experience. Or in layman’s terms, our pages will load faster.
Thanks to Patrick Malins, the HTTPS Project Manager, and the TNL Technology and Operations teams for their hard work over the past few months.