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This month the social media goliath Facebook rolled out tighter security options for accessing its website and this includes business or “Fan” pages.

So what has changed?

Secure access

Normally when opening a website such as Facebook you would start by typing http:// followed by the website address into your web browser.

This is the regular way to access any website.  It is also the unsecured way.

Any information on or entered into a web page that starts with http:// is transmitted over the web unencrypted.

This means that there is the potential for somebody to intercept, read and make sense of the information at some point between your computer and the website server hosting the site you’re accessing.

Why not encrypt everything?

A very good question and the answer harks back to the Internet’s infancy.

Encrypting information takes time and computing power.  The web page needs to be encrypted and decrypted at both ends.  It also needs to send and receive additional information (server requests) between both the computer and server to authenticate each other.  i.e. making sure they have the rights to read the unencrypted page.

All this extra data and server requests were seen as overheads at a time when the fastest way to access the Internet was a 28k modem on dial-up.

Of course not every page needs to be encrypted.  There’s no sense in encrypting a web page that is intended for public access.

So why bother with all this encryption and security?

Your business Facebook page may be available to the public but please bear in mind that the page is an application running under your Facebook account.

While you’re checking your business page, how often do you quickly check your messages, read a mail, check out a friend’s status, send a personal message?

All this information is being transmitted over the web and while there’s no way of completely stopping people intercepting these communications, we can at least make them unintelligible by encrypting the data.

How to implement the new security measures

This is the easy part.

First login to your Facebook account then click on your “Account” then “Account Settings” from the top RHS menu next to “Profile”.

Under the “Account Security” section, simply select the option “Secure Browsing (https)” and save.

Next time you login to Facebook you will notice that the URL has changed from http:// to https://.  The additional “s” stands for secure.

You will now be accessing Facebook and your Business Pages securely in the same way as you shop and buy online.

In all fairness, secure access to Facebook has been available for a long time but you had to know to type in https:// instead of the regular http://.

The new change to the account settings makes it easier to do this.

Read the full official Facebook blog entry for this change: A Continued Commitment to Security

Let us know if you’ve started to use the new Facebook security setting and while you’re at it, have a look at our Facebook Business page.