Feb. 1, 2011 at 12:16 PM ET
Announced last week on Data Privacy Day — a totally really government sanctioned “holiday,”— Facebook’s HTTPS setting is now available to all Facebook users.
Enabling HTTPS on your Facebook account will lock down your data from Wi-Fi’s prying eyes. Users could previously do it manually by typing "https://facebook.com/" in the browser address bar. Now it's possible to make this setting automatic. It's a security feature you should consider if you access your Facebook account in public places.
Just how easy is it to intercept the Internet activity of other users in public Wi-Fi hot spots? Pretty darn, as revealed by Firesheep, a Firefox extension built by Eric Bulter to demonstrate the lax security at popular websites such as Facebook.
For example, once you log in to your online bank account, your entire sesson on the website is encrypted. By comparison, Firesheep revealed how Facebook, Amazon, Flickr and other sites only encrypt your log-in. After you’ve logged in, everything else you do is wide open, especially in Wi-Fi hotspots. Firesheep can intercept Internet sessions via the shared IP address, allowing any old stranger to browse along with the unsuspecting victim, gathering personal and identity info along the way.
Now that you have the ability to encrypt Facebook via the HTTPS option automatically, your entire session on the social network is locked down just as if you were banking online. Here’s how you take advantage of HTTPS:
Note: Enabling HTTPS may slow down your Facebook account as encrypted pages take longer to load. Also, you won't be able to access third party applications such as FarmVille, etc. But it’s worth it if you’re accessing your account in a public setting or via an unlocked W-iFi account.
Now let’s all review what we just learned by watching this short but informative video from LifeHacker.
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