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HTTPS in the Norwegian public sector


writer icon Brooke Illummont     Thomas Karlsson   |   Tech     🕐 07. Feb. 2018

Digitalisation of official paperwork has entered the Norwegian public system and along with it, seems to be a feeling of It-must-be-safe-because-everyone-else-is-doing-it. Far too few people look and check for the little padlock next to “HTTPS” in the URL. The padlock symbolises that the connection is secure send and all information to and from the website is sent with an encrypted HTTPS connection.

You will note that there is one letter difference in the two, the “S”. HTTP stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol and HTTPS stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure. HTTPS is quite simply put the secure version of HTTP. HTTP is a protocol of which data is sent between your browser and the website that you are connected to. The “S” in HTTPS stands for “Secure”. It means all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted. Without HTTPS, any data passed is insecure.

The news does affect reality
In 2016 the Norwegian newspaper NRK published an article disclosing the fact that only 4.2 % of all public and governmental sites were protected by the HTTPS protocol. This meant that any information entered into a public system website without the HTTPS encrypted connection could easily be hacked and misused.

Introduced as recommended standard
After NRK’s disclosing of these facts it has now been recommended that HTTPS has become a formally recommended standard, and new measurements have already show that usage of HTTPS has increased.

yellow dot

Number wise Norway has 927 out of 3472 state domains that uses HTTPS, or 27 %. Which is a massive improvement to the 4.2% in 2016. However, there is still some way to go, even for US and UK government-controlled domains. Similar surveys show that 40 % of government-controlled domains in the United States use HTTPS, while 36 % of UK government domains do the same.

The usages of HTTPS in Norway have now become more widely used and information from both citizens and government officials are safe on protected websites that show HTTPS and a padlock in the top left corner.

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