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WhiteHouse.gov Finally Gets Boosted Encryption

Whitehouse.gov/AP

The White House today debuted HTTPS-encryption on WhiteHouse.gov, finally giving in to pressure from critics who claimed the site was not secure enough. 

The announcement, made in a tweet, comes about a month after several government groups said they were transitioning to HTTPS-only public-facing websites. Last week, the Federal Trade Commission encrypted its site, FTC.gov, Chief Technologist Ashkan Soltani wrote in a blog post.

Hypertext transfer protocol secure, or HTTPS, is designed to encrypt passwords and other sensitive data so they aren't in plain text, also making it more difficult for outsiders to redirect users to different websites.  

The General Services Administration’s tech team, 18F, has been helping some government groups transition to HTTPS and had publicly asked the White House to hardcode the security protocol into its website.

The White House's decision could encourage other federal groups to secure their sites, said Eric Mill, a member of 18F. 

"It's a very high-profile website," he told Nextgov. "Along with the FTC's website, I think it really helps reinforce the message that all Web browsing is private and sensitive, and everything is sensitive enough to merit using a private secure connection."

The White House's Office of Management and Budget did not respond to a request for comment. 

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