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Facebook tightens security with HTTPS, remote logouts

facebook-httpsMaybe it was Mark Zuckerberg’s fan page hack that spurred Facebook’s security upgrade, but whatever the reason, users can now have HTTPS accessibility. Facebook will roll out the feature over the next few weeks, and it means that users’ activity is now encrypted when it hits a web server.

This is primarily helpful when logging on over a Wi-Fi network. There are numerous ways for “hackers” to follow your every move on the social network, including the popular Firesheep plug-in for Firefox. Using an HTTPS connection doesn’t guarantee you’re safe from prying eyes, but it does add an extra hurdle to get over. Including one for users: Facebook warns that HTTPS will cause page loading to lag.

In a blog post, Facebook also explains that while this is a general upgrade, it isn’t a privacy catch-all. “Some Facebook features, including many third-party applications, are not currently supported in HTTPS.” So any in-game purchasing or information you exchange in popular Facebook games is still up for grabs.

The social network encourages users who access the site over WiFi and public networks to enable HTTPS. The feature is available under your Account Settings, in the security section. In the future, this could become a default setting, much like Google’s own encryption policy. HTTPS became a default setting for Gmail users last year, and other Google features also use the security tool.

account settings-httpsNot well known for its account protection, the site is proactively trying to make users’ information safer. In further attempts to heighten security, Facebook is launching a remote logout option in order to secure your account after failing to sign out on a device that doesn’t belong to you via your Account Settings. Here, the site will list where you’re signed on from and let you log out. One-time passwords can also be delivered to your cellphone for temporary sessions on public computers or networks.