PhotoThis might sound like gibberish but it's not. Facebook is providing an additional layer of security for its U.S. users. Starting this week, your connection to Facebook will start witih "HTTPS" instead of plain old "HTTP."

This is the extra security layer that until recently has been used mostly by banks and other high-security sites, like those that handle credit card transactions. Google, Twitter and some other major sites already use HTTPS -- or SSL -- connections. It took Facebook a bit longer because of all the third-party apps on its site.

It's more secure because all of the information is encrypted as it is sent to and from the Facebook servers.  As always, there is a price to be paid for the extra security -- it's a little slower because of the encryption process but most privacy experts will tell you it's well worth it because of the added privacy protection.

Certificates verified

PhotoThe HTTPS connection also verifies the site's certificates to be certain it's not an imposter site. It also does not cache information on your computer, where it could be vulnerable to snoopers.

At the simplest level, the HTTPS connection makes it much harder for nefarious foes to steal your user ID and password, which would enable them to hijack your account -- something that can happen rather easily if you use an "open" wi-fi connection in a coffee shop, airport or other public place.

Previously, users could select HTTPS protection in their account settings but it will now be the default for all U.S. users and will be added to users around the world "in the near future," Facebook said.

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