General Question

prioritymail's avatar

Can I turn https OFF for google.com and its other websites?

Asked by prioritymail (1617 points ) March 25th, 2012

I finally got easytether working! It was the non-functional USB cable after all. Unfortunately the “unlimited trial” version has long been expired and https sites are blocked. What this means is I can’t access google.com….or any of Google’s other sites like gmail, finance, or google voice. Is there a way to turn off https? In the next 30 days, I will pay for the full version if this setup works for me. But I’d like to test it out for a month before I commit to buy. I need to know how much data I use in a month, if the connection I get by tethering is consistent and fast enough, and if my new cell phone provider is good value or not.

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8 Answers

PhiNotPi's avatar

I don’t think that it is possible. The S in HTTPS stands for “secure”, which means that communications are encrypted. HTTPS is used primarily when there is important information that is being communicated between you and the website that you don’t want other people to know.

There is a type of cyber attack called a “man-in-the-middle” attack, which is when a malicious agent intercepts your communications, spies on them, and then passes them along to the final destination without either party ever realizing that he was there.

If communications were not encrypted, then a man-in-the-middle attack will be able to steal all of the information that is communicated. This would include email logins. In the process of setting up a Gmail account, the malicious agent could potentially steal your name, address, email address, and cellphone number. Many HTTPS websites involve monetary transactions, and that information could be stolen also.

A more severe version of the man-in-the-middle attack is when the communications are not only intercepted, but modified before being sent to the final destination. This means that you could think that you are viewing Google.com or any other website, but you are actually viewing whatever the malicious agent wants you to see. This opens the door to attacks in which you think that you are downloading something legitimate, but the malicious agent replaces the download with malware without either party noticing.

So, not only do you not want to turn off HTTPS, but it is very likely that the websites just won’t allow you to turn it off, since it represents a security breach.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

You cannot turn off the “S” in “https”, the website sets the secure gateway.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

So @robmandu the G-mail account is then OPEN to hackers and your personal info is broadcast to the entire universe. YIKES ! !

robmandu's avatar

I didn’t say it was a good idea.

To continue, make sure you log out of Google’s services altogether on your machine. That way it won’t try to “remember” to switch you to HTTPS for everything.

prioritymail's avatar

I understand what https is, and its benefits, etc. My question is simply how to turn it “off”.

I had already went into Gmail’s settings and changed the option @robmandu mentioned, but that did not seem to have any effect… Also google.com itself is defaulting to https, which means I cannot do any searches.

Yes there are benefits and risks associated with using or not using https. But if it means the difference between being able to do my research or not, I would prefer to have it off. I don’t think it is necessary for every single search you run over Google to be https. Maybe you, @PhiNotPi, don’t want to turn it off, but I have a valid reason and actually it should be my decision whether or not I want the added security.

@Tropical_Willie Your gmail account can be hacked with https, too. Anything you put online has the potential to be compromised.

gambitking's avatar

Google automatically puts you in https mode when you’re signed in. (those bastards).

Just sign out of your Google account(s) and you should be fine.

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