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November 26, 2012

Facebook is Rolling Out HTTPS

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

Facebook (News - Alert) is rolling out Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) to improve security for users worldwide.

The offering will be rolled out starting this month for North American users, followed by a rollout for users located elsewhere in the world. Facebook’s Shireesh Asthana said in a blog post that the global rollout will start “soon.” A specific date was not given.

Also, Facebook’s Alex Rice explained in an earlier blog post that the move makes the site’s platform more secure for developers and users.

Image via Shutterstock

“The feature prevents account hijacking attacks over insecure networks and also stops the governments of some countries from spying on the Facebook activities of their residents,” Computerworld explained.

The recent move by Facebook was praised by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) – which called it in a tweet a "huge step forward for encrypting the Web."

HTTPS started being used on banking and e-commerce sites, and since then is “the norm for any web app that stores user information,” Rice said. “We feel that HTTPS is an essential option to protect the security of Facebook accounts.”

G-mail and Twitter (News - Alert) have made HTTPS the default for all users. Last year, it became an option on Facebook.

Ivan Ristic, director of engineering at security Qualys (News - Alert), said it was harder for Facebook to implement HTTPS than other sites “given its ecosystem of millions of third-party apps and websites that integrate with its platform,” Computerworld reported.

In addition, HTTPS has replaced HTTP for many organizations because of its improved security offering.

Another option for unprotected HTTP users is Firesheep, which was first developed for the Firefox browser. Firesheep uses “a packet sniffer to intercept unencrypted cookies from certain websites as the cookies are transmitted over networks, exploiting session hijacking vulnerabilities,” TMCnet added.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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