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November 21, 2012

Facebook moving users to HTTPS for more secure connection [UPDATED]

The social network's move aims to provide secure browsing for members.

By Tineka Smith


Facebook announced last week that it would enable HTTPS as a default to protect users.

"As announced last year, we are moving to HTTPS for all users," Facebook platform engineer Shireesh Asthana said in a blog post "This week, we’re starting to roll out HTTPS for all North America users and will be soon rolling out to the rest of the world."

HTTPs keeps data encrypted when travelling between web browsers and servers and is mostly used to make sure sensitive transactions are secure, like online bank or credit card transactions.

Initially, Facebook gave users the option to turn on HTTPS for better security during their sessions last year. However with HTTPs encrypted pages could take longer to download.

"Facebook has taken a great step to protect its users," Seth Schoen, senior staff technologist for Electronic Frontier Foundation told CBR.

"Spying on Internet users is easier and cheaper than most people think, and as a U.S. court once said, encryption like HTTPS can help protect us "whether we are surveilled by our government, by criminals, or by our neighbours."

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"In the last few years, lots of major web sites have recognized the importance of offering HTTPS security to their users," he added. There’s still a long way to go. A prominent example is that Yahoo! Mail doesn’t use HTTPS after users log in; that means that anyone on the same wifi network with a Yahoo! Mail user can easily read the e-mail that person sends and receives."

The HTTPS roll out will start with U.S. members before becoming globally available.

The social network also took steps last month to bolster security by partnering with seven new anti-virus partners.

Among the partners added were Kaspersky Labs, Panda, Avast, AVG, Total Defense, Avira and Webroot. Other big names in security like McAfee, Norton and Sophos were added to Facebook’s Antivirus Marketplace earlier this year.

The new security services will help members steer clear of malicious pages, accounts and applications.

"By adding these new partners to the Facebook Security family we are sure we can keep our community even better protected from threats both on Facebook and elsewhere on the Web," said Facebook in a blog post.


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