Browsers and how they show Trust and Encyption

Firefox is moving ahead with a new way to convey the security level of websites…See the differences for yourself.  Also including Chrome and Opera for comparison.

Key: HTTP is the plain old web, no guarantee of well anything really security wise
HTTPS your communication is encrypted to a specific website
HTTPS with EV or Extended Validation ensures your communication is encrypted to a specific website AND that company X (at so and so address, and incorporated in Y) owns said website.

Firefox 12 (current)  HTTP
Firefox 14  (new) HTTP
Opera HTTP
Chrome HTTP

Additional Notes:
Opera doesn’t warn on Mixed HTTP/HTTPS Content, instead it just displays it as “Web” (no security markers) which certainly puts security first.
Opera – when you click the url bar, the full URL get’s displayed including http:// or https://, otherwise they are usually hidden except for trusted sites for some reason.   That actually makes me like hiding http/https by default.

Which do you think of the above is the worst?   The best?  Why?

For me, Opera would win if they didn’t have the lock symbol.  Saying outright “Secure” or “Trusted” I think works quite well. Otherwise I still really like Firefox 12.  It is quite easy to teach to people (I teach a Firefox course every other month or so), and works quite well at a glance.

The other goal of the Firefox 14 change was to “reduce some visual weight”.  Which I read as make what kind of page (secure/etc) stand out less.  In fact, out of the above Firefox 14 is my last choice.

The Lock Symbol

It provides a false sense of security. If you tell people that a lock symbol means they are secure they are more likely to trust locks that are on the page or part of the favicon. Regardless if it’s not displayed in the URL bar, it would still be on the tab.  It’s not a big leap for a user to mistake one for the other.

The lock symbol does exist in Firefox 12, it will show up if you click on the Green or Blue bar. This keeps it from being something the user expects to see on the page though.


You can read more about the reasoning behind the Firefox 14 change here:

Discussion about the return of the lock:!topic/

1 Week with Opera follow-up

A follow up to my 1 week with Opera

Unfortunately I didn’t make it.  I’m used to an unstable browser (I run Firefox Aurora normally), but recurring crashes are never fun.  In fact while writing this post, Xorg went a little crazy, wasn’t able to pin it definitely on Opera though.

I still use it from time to time as my secondary browser.  It’s fast and I really like the initial “Speed Dial” page.  It’s worth a look, especially on an older machine.

1 Week with Opera

I’ve been testing Firefox Aurora almost since the new release cycle.  This release seems quite stable and fast..  So I need something different… I’ve decided to try Opera (stable) for 1 week.  I’m on the hunt for websites that don’t work with standards (to add to my Firefox WebCott add-on).  Also so far, I have been impressed with the speed and user interface of Opera.   Fair Warning, it is not free and open source software, but you can give it a try at

I am partly trying it because they just made the great Duck Duck Go search engine available as a preloaded option.