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 It’s been replaced by Transport Layer Security (TLS).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 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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How to Upgrade Your Router’s Firmware, Plus Reasons Why It Needs to Be Done

Your router has its very own firmware that it runs in order to supply wireless or wired connectivity to your devices. The device is rarely used from an actual GUI but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t require software to run it. It does and like any device that runs a firmware, it too needs to be upgraded from time to time. Ideally, you should upgrade your router’s firmware whenever an update is available. An upgrade will help eliminate bugs, make your router more secure, and maybe even add a new feature or two.

Router firmware upgrades are rare. Unlike desktop or mobile operating systems, or the firmware of IoT or wearable devices, a router’s firmware doesn’t upgrade on a regular cycle. Your router manufacturer will release an update when necessary.

Upgrade Router Firmware

Upgrading the router firmware is fairly simple process but because few people know their way around the admin panel of their router, it seems like the process is more difficult than it actually is. You may need to connect to your router via an Ethernet cable so keep one handy just in case.

Determine Router Model

Router firmware updates are specific to your router’s make and model. All routers do not run the same firmware. The firmware of a Cisco router will be different from the firmware of a Netgear router. The make and model of your router is normally written on the router itself. For aesthetic benefits, some manufacturers may write this information on the bottom of the router.

If you don’t want to get up and examine the router, or the model information is ineligible, you can look it up in your admin panel (check Download Firmware Update section).

Check For Firmware Update

Once you know what the model number of your router is, check on the router manufacturer’s website to see if a firmware update is available. The update may or may not be downloadable directly. Normally, the update is downloaded via the router’s admin panel and not as stand alone file to your desktop.

Download Firmware Update

If the updated firmware file can be downloaded, go ahead and save it to your desktop. If not, you need to access your admin panel.

You can access the admin panel for your router from your desktop using just your internet browser. You can use just about any browser that you have. The only thing you need to know is your router’s IP. To find the IP, open Command Prompt, or Terminal and run the following command.

ipconfig /all

In the information that this command returns, look for the Default Gateway entry and note down the IP address. Enter this address in your browser to access the admin panel.

Enter the username and password for your router’s admin panel.

Install Firmware Update

From this point forward, you’re going to need to dig around a bit to find the upgrade firmware section. Router admin panels don’t follow a template for their layout so the option to upgrade your router’s firmware may be inside the About section or it may be inside the Security section, or it may have its own Updates section.

Dig around for the option. It will allow you to check for an update, and download it. Some admin panels may ask you to select the firmware file. In this case, you have to select the file you downloaded to your desktop.

During the upgrade, make sure your router does not lose power. The upgrade won’t take too long but it should not be interrupted. To be extra safe, disconnect all devices from the router.

Read How to Upgrade Your Router’s Firmware, Plus Reasons Why It Needs to Be Done by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How To Empty Standby Memory And Fix Game Stuttering On Windows 10

If you’re running the Windows 10 Creators Update, or the Fall Creators Update, and playing games on it, there’s a chance you experience game stutter while playing. This happens because of a bug in Windows 10 that causes your standby RAM to fill up for no reason. The game you’re playing may not need additional RAM but that doesn’t stop it from filling up and ultimately slowing your system down so much your game begins to stutter. The quickest way to fix game stuttering is it to empty standby memory. Of course, you will need to do this repeatedly because this is a bug and it will manifest again and again until Microsoft fixes it.

Empty Standby Memory

RAMMap is a utility that shows you how Windows is assigning physical memory and it has tools for clearing memory as well. If you’re looking for a tool that can empty standby memory, this is a good, free option. Simply go to Empty>Empty Standby List, and the stuttering should go away immediately.

As we mentioned early on that cleaning the Standby memory once isn’t enough. It fills up because of a bug and once you clean it, it will fill right back up again. It may take a little time but if this bug manifests on your system it’s not going to go away until it’s patched by Microsoft.

Create Scheduled Task

If you’re playing games then you will need to empty standby memory regularly to make sure there’s no stuttering and a scheduled task is the best way to go about doing this. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to schedule a task to empty standby memory using RAMMap. We recommend using a little app called Empty Standby List.

Empty Standby List is a single-purpose app. Run it, and it will empty standby memory. You can create a task in Task Scheduler that will run this EXE. When you run Empty Standby List, you will see a Command Prompt window appear and disappear after a second. That’s all the app has for an interface i.e., it’s basically just a console app which makes it ideal for use with a scheduled task.

Create the task to run regularly, or to just run when you’re playing a game and keep things clean while you play.

Microsoft is aware of this problem and a patch may be coming in the Spring Creators Update, whenever it rolls out. For now, both Windows 10 1703 and 1708 have this bug.

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How To Import And Export Power Plans In Windows 10

Windows 10 supports multiple power plans. You can switch to power plans from the battery slider or you can pick one from the Control Panel. Windows comes with a few default power plans but you always have the freedom to customize one of the presets, or to make your own power plan. Once you do make them, you might want to use them on more than one system. If that’s the case, making them again isn’t convenient. It’s easier to export power plans, and import them on your other systems.

Power Plan GUID

Power plans have a user friendly name however your system identifies them with a GUID. It’s series of alphanumeric string that maps to a power plan. You can find the GUIDs of all power plans currently configured on your system by running the following command in Command Prompt.

Powercfg List

Export Power Plans

The GUID is what you need to export a power plan. The list of GUIDs is accompanied by the name of each plan so you can tell which GUID belongs to the plan you want to export. Copy it to your clipboard.

Next, pick where you want to export the plan to. The export command requires a location to export the file to. Once you have both items, enter the following command to export the power plan. Make sure you append “pow” at the end of the file name that you specify. Power plan files have the POW file extension and you will need to specify it when you’re exporting the power plan.

Syntax

Powercfg -Export Location and file name GUID

Example

Powercfg -Export "C:\Power Plan\Sleep Plan.pow" 63772157-d589-43cb-869e-f6b512bbcb3b

Import Power Plans

Now that you’ve exported the power plan, you can import it to other systems. Copy the POW file that you exported to the system you want to import the power plan to.

Run the following command to import the power plan.

Syntax

Powercfg –Import Location and file name

Example

Powercfg –Import "C:\Power Plan\Sleep Plan.pow"

Once you’ve imported the power plan, it will appear in Control Panel. Note that not all power plans appear in the battery slider so you’re likely only going to find the imported plan in Control Panel. Open File Explorer and enter the following in the location bar. This will open Power Options in Control Panel and the plan you imported will appear here. Select it.

Control Panel\Hardware and Sound\Power Options

We should mention that when you import a power plan, it is assigned a new GUID on the new system. The old GUID will not work if you try to use it again to export the plan from the current system. Get a fresh list of GUIDs on each system you export a power plan from.

Read How To Import And Export Power Plans In Windows 10 by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter