Google will be replacing the lock icon, thought to be an indicator of a website’s security, in Chrome’s address bar with a new “tune” icon. The new icon will no longer imply that a site is secure or should be trusted.
The lock icon was first introduced to indicate that a website was using HTTPS encryption to encrypt connections. This meant that the connection between the user’s browser and the website is encrypted and cannot be used to eavesdrop or tamper with the connection. This is no longer the case as most websites today use the HTTPS protocol, including phishing websites, and therefore the lock icon does not indicate a website’s trustworthiness, Google said in a blog post.
Google, therefore, plans to replace it with a new “tune” icon which is more security-neutral in its appearance to ensure users understand that the websites they visit may not be trustworthy.
The icon also makes accessing permission controls and additional security information easier, Google said.
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“Replacing the lock icon with a neutral indicator prevents the misunderstanding that the lock icon is associated with the trustworthiness of a page, and emphasizes that security should be the default state in Chrome”, Google said.
The icon is scheduled for release as part of a general design refresh for desktop platforms, expected in early September. The lock icon will also be replaced on Android.
Chrome will continue to alert users when their connection is not secure and will continue to mark plaintext HTTP as insecure.