Google is buckling down on Web security by extending HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) to Top Level Domains (TLDs) under its control, the company reports.
HTTPS prevents traffic from being intercepted or misdirected in transit. HSTS automatically enforces HTTPS for connections between clients and Web servers. If someone types http://gmail.com, the browser changes it to https://gmail.com before sending the request.
In doing so, it makes connections more secure and prevents threats like downgrade attacks and cookie hijacking. Google has a HSTS preload list, which is built into all major browsers and contains a list of individual domains, subdomains, and TLDs for which browsers automatically enforce HTTPS connections. It operates 45 TLDs including .google, .how, and .soy.
Back in 2015, Google created the first secure TLD by adding .google to the HSTS preload list. Now it's extending HSTS to more of its TLDs, starting with .foo and .dev, making these websites secure by default without additional work for their users.
"Registrants receive guaranteed protection for themselves and their users simply by choosing a secure TLD for their website and configuring an SSL certificate, without having to add individual domains or subdomains to the HSTS preload list," explained Google Registry's Ban McIlwain in a blog post on the news.
This move will also accelerate the security update process. Normally, there are a few months between the time a domain name is added to the list, and the time browser upgrades reach most users. Using a secure TLD means users are immediately protected.
Read more details here.