HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS)

The HTTP Strict Transport Security feature lets a web site inform the browser that it should never load the site using HTTP, and should automatically convert all attempts to access the site using HTTP to HTTPS requests instead.

Example Use case:
If a web site accepts a connection through HTTP and redirects to HTTPS, the user in this case may initially talk to the non-encrypted version of the site before being redirected, if, for example, the user types http://www.foo.com/ or even just foo.com.

Problem:
This opens up the potential for a man-in-the-middle attack, where the redirect could be exploited to direct a user to a malicious site instead of the secure version of the original page.

Risk:
For HTTP sites on the same domain it is not recommended to add a HSTS header but to do a permanent redirect (301 status code) to the HTTPS site.

Bonus:
Google is always “tweaking” their search algorithms, and, at least at present time, gives greater weight to secure websites.


# Optionally load the headers module:
LoadModule headers_module modules/mod_headers.so

<VirtualHost *:443>
# Guarantee HTTPS for 1 Year including Sub Domains
Header always set Strict-Transport-Security "max-age=31536000; includeSubdomains; preload"
</VirtualHost>

Then you might (optionally, but recommended) force ALL HTTP users to HTTPS:

# Redirect HTTP connections to HTTPS
<VirtualHost *:80>
ServerAlias *
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off
#RewriteRule (.*) https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [R=301,L]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://%{HTTP_HOST}$1 [redirect=301]
</IfModule>
</VirtualHost>

That’s it…

REFERENCES:

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