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Facebook improving security

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If you log onto Facebook with your laptop via a wireless connection at a Starbucks or hotel, your Facebook login information could easily be compromised.

Over at Gawker, there's an article explaining why using Facebook on open or poorly secured network connections can be a very risky endeavor indeed.

By default, Facebook sends your access credentials in the clear, with no encryption whatsoever. Switching to HTTPS is important because a browser extension called Firesheep has made it especially easy for anyone sharing your open wireless network—at cafe or conference, for example—to sniff your credentials and freely access your account. One blogger sitting in a random New York Starbucks was able to steal 20-40 Facebook identities in half an hour. HTTPS solves this longstanding problem by encrypting your login cookies and other data; in fact the inventor of Firesheep made the software to encourage companies like Facebook to finally lock down their systems.

The good news for Facebook users that the popular social networking website is finally rolling out the aforementioned HTTPS protocol (the Gawker article explains how to opt into the HTTPS option).

The New York Times

e-mail: jaskar@desnews.com