If you haven’t already been browsing the most popular social networking site with HTTPS, well you are now. Facebook holds a lot of data, a lot of sensitive data that people probably don’t want others to get their hands on. With 1 billion people, that’s 1 billion targets for hackers to try to steal login information and other sensitive data. To combat that, Facebook will now be forcing all of its users over to the more secure HTTPS connections that encrypt data to and from servers. This means that if you login from your favorite coffee shop, your login information can’t be poached by insecure wifi.
Facebook says that HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is slightly slower than browsing it on HTTP but is more secure overall with keeping your data secure. If you like to live on the edge, you can also opt-out of using HTTPS and switch back. Back in January 2011, users were able to opt-in to using HTTPS throughout the site, not just on the login page, and I have been using it ever since.
A developer blog post from Facebook earlier last week announced of the changes and the start of the process this week. This roll out will pertain mainly to North American users as quoted in the blog post.
As announced last year, we are moving to HTTPS for all users. 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.
Even though you can opt-out of using HTTPS, you should always use it where ever possible to stay secure online, especially when you’re on a public wifi network. Facebook is a huge company and to make HTTPS default is a great step in the way of internet security. Although the site may be slow, the advantages of switching are tremendous when you really think about it. Who knows what someone could do with your Facebook information, one very extreme scenario is identity theft.
So if you see the site running slow, it might be because of HTTPS and in reality it’s not going to be that slow in comparison.