SEX

Porn Sites Are Starting To Take Hacking Seriously

Pornhub announces it has switched to HTTPS, and YouPorn is following soon

SEX
Illustration: Diana Quach
Mar 30, 2017 at 12:00 PM ET

Watching porn online just got a little safer. Pornhub announced Thursday that it has switched over to HTTPS, a security protocol that encrypts web traffic and protects users from hacking, leaks, and malware. Early next month, sister site YouPorn will do the same.

“With the switch to HTTPS we are able to protect [visitors’] identity as well as safeguard them against exposure to malware by third parties,” said Corey Price, vice president of Pornhub, in a statement. “At the end of the day, we want every single one of them to feel safe and secure on our platform while enjoying our library of over 5 million videos.”

When a site like Pornhub doesn’t use HTTPS, it means that every video a user clicks on, every search term they enter, could be viewed by their internet service provider, like, say, Comcast. That information can also be vulnerable to hacking or government surveillance, a particular concern in the age of Trump. We’ve already seen how adult websites’ security vulnerabilities can be exploited — take the recent hacks of extramarital dating website Ashley Madison and the “sex and swinger community” AdultFriendFinder.

Given the sensitivity of detailed information about people’s porn viewing habits, it’s surprising that more porn sites haven’t made the leap to HTTPS. As Pornhub’s press release points out, a report last fall from Google revealed that of the top 11 most-visited adult websites in the world, only three used HTTPS. That same report spurred the Center for Democracy & Technology to partner with the Free Speech Coalition, the adult industry’s trade association, to push for widespread HTTPS adoption among porn sites — and it seems to be paying off.

“As one of the most viewed websites in the world, it is our duty to ensure the confidentially and safety of our users. The transition to HTTPS will go a long way in solidifying our users’ privacy and protecting them against various types of malware,” said Brad Burns, YouPorn vice president.