Change This Setting to Make Hacking Your Facebook Account More Difficult

From an announcement on the Facebook blog yesterday, Facebook has taken a big step to make your Facebook browsing experience far safer. I suspect this at least in part because someone was able to hack into Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook fan page.

If you’ve ever done your shopping or banking online, you may have noticed a small “lock” icon appear at the lower right of your browser or that the URL starts with a HTTPS. The HTTPS indicates that your browser is using a secure connection to communicate with the website you are on. This ensures that the information you send remains private. Facebook currently uses HTTPS whenever a password is sent, but as of January 26, they are expanding its usage in order to help keep all browsing data more secure.

You can now change a setting (hopefully soon in Canada – see below) that will make your use of Facebook occur entirely over HTTPS. You should consider enabling this option if you frequently use Facebook from public Internet access points such as those found at coffee shops, airports, libraries or schools. The option will exist as part of our advanced security features, which you can find in the “Account Security” section of the Account Settings page.

Canadians please note: As usual, changes like this don’t happen everywhere at the same time, and as of this morning the new setting does not appear on my Facebook settings page. I expect it will show up in the next few days.

There are a few things you should keep in mind before deciding to enable HTTPS. Encrypted pages take longer to load, so you may notice that Facebook is slower using HTTPS. In addition, some Facebook features, including many third-party applications, are not currently supported in HTTPS. Facebook says they are working hard to resolve these issues. This feature will be rolled out over the next few weeks, but you will be able to turn this feature on in your Account Settings soon. Facebook says it hopes to offer HTTPS as a default whenever you are using Facebook sometime in the future.

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  1. Use of https was also a key part of Facebook’s response to Tunisian ISPs’ attempts to hack into citizens’ Facebook profiles.