Feeds

Facebook offers 500 million users SSL crypto

Turn it on yourself...bitch

Website security in corporate America

Facebook is giving all users the option of accessing its social networking service via SSL encryption.

The move comes a day after pranksters hacked into the Facebook page of CEO Mark Zuckerberg and less than a month after the company reportedly turned on SSL encryption for anyone viewing the site inside Tunisia, where malicious code was apparently pilfering the login details of users critical of the local government.

"Facebook currently uses HTTPS whenever your password is sent to us, but today we're expanding its usage in order to help keep your data even more secure," the company said Wednesday in a blog post. "Starting today we'll provide you with the ability to experience Facebook entirely over HTTPS. You should consider enabling this option if you frequently use Facebook from public Internet access points found at coffee shops, airports, libraries or schools."

Facebook says that the new tool will be rolled out "slowly" over the next few weeks. Once it's available to you, you can turn on your HTTP connection by visiting the "Account Security" section of Facebook's Account Settings page.

The move was praised by several prominent voices across the web. "Facebook now allows HTTPS/SSL all the time on FB," tweeted über-Googler Matt Cutts. "Huge props to FB! Everyone turn it on! Please."

But that's the rub. Users are required to turn it on themselves. Ideally, Facebook should turn HTTPS on by default. But it can save cash by merely making it an option, knowing that only a small portion of users will actually flip the switch.

Google automatically turns on SSL encryption for all Gmail users, and it offers HTTPS as an option with its search engine and various other services. Microsoft is offering SSL as an option with Hotmail – though it may not work in tandem with complementary tools such as Redmond Outlook Hotmail Connector and Windows Live Mail. Yahoo! and MySpace have yet offer always-on HTTPS, even as an option.

With today's blog post, the company also introduced what it calls "social authentication". If Facebook suspects your account has been compromised, it may show you pictures of your online friends and ask you to identify them.

"Instead of showing you a traditional captcha on Facebook, one of the ways we may help verify your identity is through social authentication. We will show you a few pictures of your friends and ask you to name the person in those photos. Hackers halfway across the world might know your password, but they don't know who your friends are," the company said. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Freenode IRC users told to change passwords after securo-breach
Miscreants probably got in, you guys know the drill by now
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
BitTorrent's peer-to-peer chat app Bleep goes live as public alpha
A good day for privacy as invisble.im also reveals its approach to untraceable chats
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.