Websites whose connection to the browser is protected by the HTTPS protocol will no longer show the padlock icon, as they do today, starting with Chrome version 117, which is scheduled to roll out in September, Google announced.
The current icon will be replaced by a more generic one, often associated with the one used to access the application settings.
This is to correct a scheme that, according to Google, can cause misunderstandings: that is, for users, that padlock implies that the website they are accessing is completely secure, including as regards aspects related, for example, to the protection of personal data.
“The lock icon is meant to indicate that the network connection between the browser and the site is secure and that the network connection cannot be intercepted or tampered with by third parties, but it is a relic of an era where HTTPS was not common,” Google pointed out.
Today, however, 95% of sites support HTTPS, but also those used as so-called landing pages (or landing pages) used for phishing attacks, i.e., those used to deceive users and steal access credentials to sensitive platforms, such as portals for current accounts.
Google’s decision is also based on an online survey carried out in 2021 on a pool of 1,800 people to evaluate how the browser’s lock icon is interpreted.
This survey showed that the icon needs to be understood by many users, “who mistake it to measure the overall trustworthiness of a website: when it is missing, users prefer not to buy from a platform, for example.
“The padlock icon ensures that the connection is secure, but is often perceived as an indication of the privacy, security, and trustworthiness of a website in general,” Google concluded with that research.
With the future version of Chrome, the padlock icon will be found as a submenu of the new icon, which will remain in the same position to the left of the website address.
Once you click on that icon, it will show whether or not your connection to the website is secure.
“We think the new icon helps make permission controls and additional security information more accessible while avoiding misunderstandings that have affected the padlock icon,” Google added.