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Evolution of the HTTPS lock icon (Infographic)

Since the introduction of HTTPS by Netscape, the lock icon have been the indicator of choice to tell users that their communication is secure. Over the years, this “prestigious” icon shape and position kept changing from browser to browser and from version to version so I made a couple of infographics to illustrate this. I hope you will enjoy them

Evolution of the lock shape

The first infographic below show the evolution of the lock icon itself. The first thing that infographic show is that beside Safari, every major browser vendor keeps revamping the lock icon from time to time. I have included Konqueror in the infographic because, it is the only that uses a shield as security indicator, despite users studies showing that the lock is the best indicator for SSL…

Don’t be surprise to not find Firefox 5+ in the infograhic, it was remove (you know have a blue box on the right of the URL when SSL is on)

Finally one thing that keeps puzzling me is why the Safari (every version) and Firefox icon (some version) are different depending of the OS ?

Evolution of the lock position

 

The second infographic show you where the lock is displayed in the browser.  One thing to note is that Safari icon position is different whether you use it on Windows or OSX.

Realizing the diversity of  lock shapes and positions makes me wondering if  it is not  one of the reason why users are confused and sometime have hard time to know if the connection is secure or not.  Maybe we should standardize the security indicator shape and position ?

Thanks for reading this post. If you like it please sharing it with the world, it makes me happy You can follow me on Twitter @elie or on Google+

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Elie Bursztein

I lead Google's anti-abuse research team, which invents ways to protect users against cyber-criminal activities and Internet threats. I blog about web performance and security.

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Elie Bursztein © 2017
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