HTTPS Secure ConnectionFacebook announced that it will expand its current usage of HTTPS to all Facebook pages.  Until now Facebook had only supported HTTPS on its login page in order to encrypt a user’s password. Now they will give users the option to experience Facebook entirely over HTTPS.

This is a huge step forward for Facebook, who in my opinion, has hugely neglected the privacy and security issues plaguing the social network. My only complaint is that Facebook has decided not to make this a default setting, so users must manually turn the option on (I show you how to do this below). Facebook points out that some features, including many third-party applications, are currently not supported in HTTPS. They are working to resolve those issues, and claim that they plan to offer HTTPS as a default in the future. Let’s hope they keep their word.

What Is HTTPS?

HTTPS is a protocol that allows secure communication with a website by encrypting user data, and prevents eavesdroppers from obtaining your personal information. HTTPS is used by online banking and financial institutions to secure your financial information.

Because there are tools available that allow malicious attackers to obtain unencrypted data being transferred by your web browser, it is especially important to use HTTPS when using an unprotected public Wi-Fi connection, such as those found at Starbucks and airports.

You know you are in an HTTPS session if you see https in the address bar, instead of http. You will also see a yellow lock in your browser window. Internet Explorer displays the lock in the address bar, while Firefox displays the lock in the lower right corner of your browser window. And depending on what browser you use, the address bar may change color when in an HTTPS session.

How to Enable HTTPS

As I mentioned above, Facebook did not enable HTTPS usage by default, so if you want to use HTTPS on Facebook, you must manually set it. Here I show you how to do this. (Please note that this feature will not be available to all 500 million users at once, but will instead be rolled out slowly over the next few weeks.)

I highly encourage you to set HTTPS as your default, especially if you frequently use unsecured public Wi-Fi. If you are relying on remembering to switch over to HTTPS when in public, I can almost guarantee you will forget. It’s best to set it, and forget it. If having HTTPS enabled becomes too annoying for you because you just can’t get enough of FarmVille, then you can always turn it off.

To enable HTTPS, first go to Account Settings. You can find Account Settings in the Account tab drop down menu located in the upper right corner.

Facebook Account Settings

Once in the Account Settings page, go down to Account Security and click on the change link.

Facebook Edit Account Settings

If the HTTPS feature has been rolled out to your account, you will see an option that says “Secure Browsing (https), Browse Facebook on a secure connection (https) whenever possible”. Click on the box next to that option to enable it, and hit save. If you do not see the option for Secure Browsing that means that this feature has not been rolled out to your account yet.

Facebook HTTPS Settings

For more on this, check out this video from Facebook.

And if you’re interested in Facebook security, learn how to remove malicious third party apps from your Facebook account.

Has HTTPS been rolled out to your Facebook account yet? If you’ve tried it out, how has it impacted your Facebook experience? Is it noticeably slower? Are there any games, or other apps, that don’t work?