September 10, 2010

Connecting to Facebook via HTTPS

Many of us use Facebook on a regular basis today. It's a great social site via which keeping in touch and interacting with friends is sometimes easier than sending an email. Facebook actually pushes you to interact, sometimes subconsciously. You see a friends picture somewhere on the site an think "oh, it's been a while since I've seen X or wrote to X.", so.. we write.

To enable most of Facebook's features or just to actually make it usable we usually divulge a lot of private information. And it's not a question if we trust Facebook to keep our data safe or not, because even if they do secure our personal information with the best possible encryption algorithms out there and establish their data center inside Fort Knox itself, our information still won't be secured on its way to their servers.

Why you ask? Facebook let's us connect to its site through an unsecured connection only. At least they have the courtesy of sending our password through an encrypted connection (HTTPS). But unfortunately everything else that happens in Facebook once we walk through that initial steps of logging in might not necessarily stay there.

I was looking for a secure way to access Facebook all the way as there is no "natural" way of forcing the site to use HTTPS and found one. A Greasemonkey script written by therm000 called Facebook Secure Pro which forces Facebook via Firefox to use the HTTPS protocol by default to access the specific site.

So here it goes:

  1. If you don't have Mozilla Firefox, go ahead and grab it from GetFirefox
  2. Install Greasemonkey which is a neat Firefox add-on for running JS (more info on their website)
  3. You will be prompted to restart Firefox once the plug-in downloads, make sure to bookmark whatever tabs you have open
  4. Browse to Userscripts.org to download the Facebook Secure Pro script (just click on "install")
  5. Voila! All done. You can now navigate to Facebook and see for yourself.

This trick is mostly useful while connecting through public WiFi hot spots. Enjoy!

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