[if lt IE 9]> Place this render call where appropriate

Facebook Adopts HTTPS By Default To Increase Security For Its 1B+ Users

By Alexandra Burlacu | Nov 21, 2012 12:40 PM EST

Share This Story

  • Print
  • Email

Facebook has decided to move its massive user base to HTTPS connections for added security, in a bid to prevent cyber attacks over Wi-Fi networks.

HTTPS is the secure version of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), the essential method a browser employs to connect with Web sites. HTTPS basically adds a layer of encryption to data transfer, making the information harder to breach by attackers on the same wireless network. To achieve this added security, it slightly reduces transfer speeds.

Follow us

Facebook, however, did not want to sacrifice neither speed nor security for its 1 billion users. Consequently, the social networking giant spent the last two years enhancing its infrastructure so that moving all of its users to HTTPS will "slow down connections only slightly," according to TechCrunch.

"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," Facebook announced on Thursday, Nov. 15, in a post on its Developer Blog.

Gathering information over a local network is very simple without HTTPS. Firesheep, FaceNiff, and other such packet sniffers are designed particularly for this purpose, and don't require much technical knowledge. Such tools make it incredibly easy to discover someone's login details or other sensitive information over standard HTTP connections.

That's where HTTPS comes in. Increasingly more Web services beyond e-commerce sites and financial institutions have adopted HTTPS to add extra security. Gmail, for instance, made HTTPS the default for all users back in 2010. Twitter made the same leap this year, and now it's Facebook's turn.

It's true that Facebook added HTTPS last year, but only as an option, and many third-party apps did not support the protocol. All apps have since been required to support HTTPS, and Facebook is now rolling out the protocol to all users.

Still, because this added security comes at the expense of speed (encryption adds load time to Web pages), users will be allowed to opt-out of HTTPS in their account settings, according to TechCrunch.

The address bar in a browser shows whether the site is using an HTTPS connection or the standard HTTP protocol. When the connection is secure, the URL in the address bar will start with "https://."

For extra security on other Web sites, Firefox and Chrome users can also install the HTTPS Everywhere add-on, which will automatically activate HTTPS on sites where it is supported, but not default.

Get the Most Popular Mobile&Apps Stories in a Weekly Newsletter

© 2014 Mobile & Apps All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Join Our Conversation

Smartphones
Gmail 5.0 for Android reportedly aims to handle all emailGmail 5.0 for Android leaks online, reportedly aims to handle ALL email
Dropbox for iOS gets Touch ID support with latest update – Available now
Apple Pay mobile payment system rolling out to iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus
Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Nexus Player on Google Play: Available models, prices & shipping estimates
Tablet / Laptop / PC
Dell Venue 7 and Venue 8Dell unveils Venue 7 and Venue 8 Android 4.3 Jelly Bean tablets
Retina iPad Mini facing delays, may not launch until early next year
Refurbished 128GB iPad with Retina Display now available on the Apple Online Store
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 – 2014 Edition: Pricing and availability now official
Gadgets
Amazon LogoAmazon reportedly to launch ‘Firetube’ set-top box before 2013 holidays
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear India launch: Pricing and availability
Samsung Galaxy Gear Android smartwatch now up for pre-order in Canada
Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 reportedly in the works already, may debut at CES or MWC 2014
OS / Software
HTC LogoHTC reportedly considering Android/Windows Phone dual-booting smartphone as Microsoft pushes for deeper Windows mobile integration
iOS 7 Chrome Incognito mode leaks private searches due to bug
Sprint HTC One Android 4.3 Jelly Bean already rolling out, AT&T, T-Mobile & Verizon to follow
Microsoft Windows 8.1 now available for pre-order
Internet / Social Media
Google DowntimeGoogle blacks out for two minutes, causes 40 percent drop in world’s Internet traffic
Xbox Music web player is live and ready for Xbox Music Pass subscribers
Facebook Android app collected phone numbers even if users never logged in
Firefox 22 brings support for web video calls, 3D gaming, and Unreal Engine 3
What's App
Flipboard for Windows PhoneFlipboard for Windows Phone finally available, but requires 1GB of RAM (VIDEO)
Vine gets major update, lets you upload previously-shot videos & more (VIDEO)
BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) finally hits Windows Phone – Available as a free download now
Instagram releases Bolt ephemeral messaging app in select markets to challenge Snapchat
Copyright © 2014 Mobile & Apps All rights reserved. mobilenapps
Real Time Analytics