The U.S. government is finally going to encrypt its websites

US Flag made of HTTPS warning icons

Better late than never.

Visiting U.S. government websites is about to get a little more secure.

The White House announced Monday that it planns to have every single .gov website use HTTPS by the end of next year.

In essence, HTTPS encrypts a person’s connection to a website, keeping information exchanged between an HTTPS-enabled site and your computer from the prying eyes of a third party. As the Electronic Frontier Foundation noted when it urged the White House to adopt these measures in April, “Without HTTPS, a person’s browsing activity can be monitored by anyone who controls their network or simply uses the same WiFi network.”

The decision comes after three months of public comment, with technical groups, as well as public advocacy organizations like the EFF and ACLU, strongly encouraging HTTPS adoption.

Of course, if you can’t wait a year and a half, or if you plan to visit any sites other than ones that already use HTTPS by default like Google, Twitter, and most banks, you can go ahead and install the free Chrome, Firefox, or Opera extension for HTTPS Everywhere.

Illustration by Jason Reed

Kevin Collier

Kevin Collier

A former senior politics reporter for the Daily Dot, Kevin Collier focuses on privacy, cybersecurity, and issues of importance to the open internet. Since leaving the Daily Dot in March 2016, he has served as a reporter for Vocativ and a cybersecurity correspondent for BuzzFeed.