Security is important, yo. While a lot of sites on the ol' World Wide Web might support HTTPS connections, that doesn't mean that typing www.sitename.com into your browser will always pull up an encrypted connection between you and your final location. But don't take my word for it. Quoth the Electronic Frontier Foundation:
"Many sites on the web offer some limited support for encryption over HTTPS, but make it difficult to use. For instance, they may default to unencrypted HTTP, or fill encrypted pages with links that go back to the unencrypted site."
So how, then, do we address this problem? Step one is staring at the little lock icon within your browser. If the lock ain't locked, then you're not rocking a secure connection. Easy as that.
As for reestablishing a secure connection, well, you'll want the help of a little Firefox add-on called HTTPS Everywhere. As the name implies, this add-on works its tail off to ensure that every single connection you make to a site, if possible, runs over HTTPS. That's an SSL or TLS encryption layer-the same kind of treatment you would expect to find on an online banking site.
That does nothing for content from third-party domains that might be spliced into a given Web page. However, HTTPS Everywhere is still a lot better than flying blind when navigating the Web.
The add-on isn't a wildcard, for what it's worth. It comes with support for a number of sites by default, but you'll have to add in any other locations manually via modifications to the add-on's ruleset files.
Maximum PC picks one new Firefox add-on as its favorite of the week each... week. Have a nifty extension that you can't live without? TwitterDavid Murphy @acererakwith your latest suggestions.