Facebook gets serious about security

Posted by Lydia Leavitt

Facebook has announced two new security features to further protect users of the popular social network. The first is a secure HTTPS connection used to shield members throughout the Facebook experience, and not just when a password is typed.

The second -  a social captcha system designed to help authenticate users with lost passwords.

The announcement couldn’t have come at a better time seeing as Facebook’s very own Mark Zuckerberg’s personal page was hacked earlier today.

HTTPS is the same connection used by banks and over secure websites. Facebook formerly used a secure HTTPS connection only when you log in to protect your password, but once you’re in, the connection was no longer as secure as it could have been.

Today’s announcement will extend the HTTPS protection throughout the entire Facebook experience. That means users will be less vulnerable to people sniffing for your password over WiFi.

On the downside, using an HTTPS connection will mean slower page loads and that some third party applications may not work with this connection. Facebook did state that they are working on this problem.

Recommended for anybody who uses Facebook in a public place or is concerned about their personal information, to enable the option, go into "Account Security" and choose "Secure Browsing."

The second safety feature announced is social authentication in case of lost password.

If a user forgets his or her password, they will be asked to identify a picture of a friend by name in order to prove they are indeed the owner of the account. This is like the idea of captcha but will require another level of familiarity with the account before Facebook will hand over a password.