What Is The Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS?

Chrome made a major change in one of its recent versions; it now blocks HTTP websites. When users visit a website that is still on HTTP, Chrome blocks it and tells users it’s not secure. Websites that are using HTTPS though are given a clean bill of health. This begs the question as to what HTTP is, and why HTTPS is preferred over it.

HTTP vs HTTPS

HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. It’s used to send information between two systems and is most commonly used between a web server and an end user computer.

HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. It too is used to send information between systems but securely so. The secure part is why Chrome allows these websites to load but blocks the ones still using HTTP.

HTTPS wasn’t always around. In the very early days of the internet, HTTP was all web developers had to work with. This protocol was developed in 1965 and HTTPS only came along in 1994. That’s almost three decades of HTTP being the only transfer protocol there was. For a long time though, it didn’t matter much. The internet as we know it today didn’t exist. It wasn’t widely available and accessible by everyone because personal devices, and even internet connections were expensive and hard to gain access to.

It wasn’t just internet penetration rates that negated the need for having a more secure way to send and receive information between two systems. It also had to do with the nature of information that was sent. With the spread of email via universities, there was a genuine need for the information that was sent to be secure. The internet continued to mature and with the arrival of¬†eCommerce banks began to integrate their payments methods with online stores. Information had to be sent securely and there had to be a way to do it.

HTTPS, SSL, And TSL

HTTPS initially used the Secure Socket Layer protocol to safely transmit data. SSL was developed for this very purpose. Initially, it was used by online eCommerce websites and payment gateways like Paypal however today an unsecure website can be used to inject malware in your browser, and even spread it to your system which is why websites are moving to HTTPS.

It’s also worth mentioning that Secure Socket Layer itself has evolved since it was first developed. It’s been replaced by¬†Transport Layer Security (TLS). TLS provides a much better level of security and protects privacy. Today, the need for security isn’t just to keep sensitive information from being stolen but also against being tracked which is why the security protocol had to be updated.

Identify HTTPS And HTTP Websites

If you use Chrome and visit an HTTP website, it simply won’t let you visit it. You will have the option to ignore the warning but that warning is the surest sign that the website doesn’t use HTTPS.

If you use a different browser, one that doesn’t automatically block HTTP websites, you can still easily identify if a website is on HTTP or HTTPS. To check, look at the address bar. You will see two major markers that tell you a website is secure.

  • A green padlock icon and the word Secure appear just before the URL.
  • The URL begins with https:// and not http://

Read What Is The Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS? by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How To Export Passwords From Chrome On iOS

Browsers often incorporate features that would have been considered excessive just a few years ago. Today, browsers are everything from file viewers to password vaults. Chrome is no stranger to password management. Both its desktop and mobile version have a password manager that sync your passwords to your Google account if you’re signed into it. Chrome on iOS has just received an update that lets you export passwords from Chrome in the form of a CSV file.

Export Passwords From Chrome

Update Chrome on your iPhone or iPad. Open the browser and tap the more (three dots) button at the top right. From the menu that opens, select Settings. On the Settings screen, tap Passwords.

On the Passwords screen, you will see a list of all websites that you’ve saved passwords for, and also a list of websites you’ve blacklisted from saving passwords in Chrome. Scroll to the very bottom of this screen, and tap the Export Password option.

A menu will open with just one option ‘Export Password’. Tap it and authenticate with either your passcode or Touch ID. Next, choose where you want to save the file. Passwords are exported as a CSV file. You can save the file to a cloud drive, email it to yourself, or send it over a chat app.

Unencrypted File

When you’re exporting passwords, the menu that appears when you tap the Export Password option on the Chrome Settings screen shows you a warning, ‘Your passwords will be visible to anyone who can see the exported file’. What this essentially means is that the file itself is not password protected, and it isn’t encrypted.

It is literally a spreadsheet in CSV format with four columns; name (of the website), URL, username, and password. If you upload this file to say a shared network drive or a shared cloud drive, anyone who has access to those drives will be able to open it.

This isn’t meant to scare you off from exporting passwords but you should know how securely the data is saved before you export it. It’s a good idea to email the file to yourself and to send it to your personal email, not your work email. That way, someone looking to get their hands on your passwords will need to get inside your email first.

Alternatively, you can upload the file to a personal cloud drive, download it to your desktop and add it to a zipped archive that can be protected with a password. Keep only the zipped file, and delete the unprotected original CSV file.

Read How To Export Passwords From Chrome On iOS by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How To Group Video Chat On Snapchat

Snapchat has a video and voice call feature. It’s hardly the highlight of the social app and not popular enough for Facebook or Instagram to have copied it. That said, Snapchat appears to think it’s worth banking on. In a recent app update, a new feature has been added that lets you group video chat on Snapchat.

Snapchat groups have been a thing for a while but they were mostly for sharing snaps and nothing else. This new feature allows upto sixteen people in one group video chat. Within chat, you can use lenses. Here’s how it works.

Group Video Chat

In order to group video chat on Snapchat, you need to first be part of a group. Everything else is more or less the same as it is in single member chat.

Open the Snapchat app and tap the chat icon at the bottom left of your screen. This will take you to your chat threads. Find a thread that is a group thread and tap the camera button next to the shutter button. Your call will appear in the group chat thread.

The chat thread divides to accommodate everyone who is part of the video chat. We’d be lying if we said it doesn’t get crowded if there are actually fifteen people in the video call.

Tap anywhere on the camera view finder to load lenses. Swipe through the lenses to position the one you want to use inside the shutter. You can leave the chat group anytime and the video will be paused. To end the video chat, tap the same camera button that you tapped to start the video call.

One has to wonder what this will do to your device’s battery, especially if you own an older phone. If your device is old, and it’s an iOS device you probably already get a lesser experience. Snapchat is slow to load on older phones and the phones tend to heat up quite a bit while using this app. Imagine video calling in Snapchat but with fifteen other people.

It’s not clear how Snapchat is going to handle the video streams. We doubt anyone’s data plan is large enough, or their network fast enough to support fifteen video calls at once. The app will obviously have employed some form of optimization in order to make this feature work but how well it works remains to be seen. On that same note, who has fifteen friends that want to video call over Snapchat in the same group?

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How To Switch To Passcode Unlock On iPhone X

Face ID, like Touch ID can fail. If it fails enough times, you have to enter your passcode to unlock your iPhone X. When you enter your passcode after failing to unlock with Face ID, you help make it more accurate. Needless to say, that’s the route you ought to go and you’ll get fewer failed attempts in the future. If you’re in a hurry and just want to switch to passcode from the lock screen, you should tap the text that says ‘Face ID’.

Face ID on iPhone X is pretty fast. Normally, you only have to raise your device and it will be ready for use. If you’ve used Face ID for even a month, you won’t have too many misses but just in case you want to switch to passcode, there’s a pretty easy way to do it. The only trick is getting to the right screen.

Switch To Passcode

When you look at your lock screen, you see the home indicator at the bottom. Just above it, you will see a line of text that says, swipe up to unlock. Normally, giving your device a single glance will be enough to unlock it but if Face ID fails and you swipe up, you will see a screen that says ‘Face ID’ in the middle. Tapping the text that says ‘Face ID’ will switch to passcode where, if you enter the correct code, your phone will be unlocked.

Fair warning though, it is not easy to get to this screen unless Face ID fails. At times, when Face ID does register your face but it isn’t sure it’s you, it will take you to this screen itself. You have the option to allow the iPhone X to scan your face again, or you can tap Face ID and enter the passcode for your device.

We kind of wish there was something like this for Touch ID. Touch ID tends to slow down with time. The sensor on older iPhone models isn’t as fast as the one on newer models, and newer versions of iOS aren’t optimized to work with older hardware. In the event that Touch ID fails, you have to wait for quite a few failed attempts before you’re given the option to switch to passcode. If for example, your hands are a little greasy or sweaty, Touch ID will fail on older iPhone models and you have to allow it to fail five times before you can see the passcode option.

There are ways to fix slow Touch ID but these fixes do have their limits which is why a quick option to switch to passcode on iPhone models would be helpful.

Read How To Switch To Passcode Unlock On iPhone X by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to Download Files From a Torrent: Torrent Downloading Explained

Downloading files from a torrent is very different from downloading them from a cloud drive or web server. Files that are downloaded from web servers through your web browser are downloaded as a whole. Torrent files come in small pieces and they don’t all originate from the same computer. The pieces are distributed among different computers ensuring that if one system isn’t available, or if there are too many users downloading the same file, it can still be delivered reliably. That’s why downloading files from a torrent is fundamentally different from downloading a file through your browser.

There are three basic components involved in downloading a file from a torrent; the file itself, a magnet link, and a torrent client.

Finding Torrent Files

Files generally aren’t available in torrent form. Even if you’re trying to download a free app e.g. Xcode by Apple, you won’t be able to find an official torrent link for it. The same holds true for all apps; official websites or software repositories never give you torrent links. They give you a direct link to the file. To find a torrent file you need to search for them on known torrent websites.

The Pirate Bay is one popular torrent site that distributes everything from movies, books, to apps. You can find most files here. All you need to do is search for your file. If you can’t find it, consider Googling for a torrent link to the file.

A Note On Legality & Ethics

Not all files available to torrent are legal to download. Books and movies are one obvious examples of files that are illegal to download. Unfortunately, many torrent sites end up hosting links to illegal content which in turn leads to legal action against them. Often these sites are blocked by ISPs or a country-wide ban is placed on them. It’s not illegal to torrent a file so long as the file itself is free to distribute.

Magnet Links

Torrent files don’t have normal HTML links. Instead they have magnet links that download a file with the .torrent extension. You can chose to save this file, or you can send the magnet link to your torrent client (see next section). The magnet link basically tells your torrent client where to find the file that you want to download.

Torrent Clients

Torrent clients are essential if you want to download files from a torrent. A torrent client understands the information in a magnet link, identifies where it can find a file, and reliably downloads it to your system.It can also pause and resume a download whenever you like. You can find Torrent clients that are free and paid. Some free clients offer a pro version with added protection such as added encryption and a VPN service to protect you when you torrent files.

uTorrent and BitTorrent are two popular, free torrent clients.

Download Files From Torrent

Assuming you have found the torrent file you want to download on a torrent site, you will likely see multiple results. Choose the one which has a high number of seeders, or that has a higher number of seeders compared to leechers. This is crucial or your torrent will download slow. Click the magnet link under the torrent. This will open your torrent client. A confirmation box will ask if you want to add the torrent to your client. Accept it to begin the download.

If you have a .torrent file, simply drag & drop it on to your torrent client or use your clients add torrent option to add the file.

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