Remember how I said I really hate Facebook status “chains”. Like the kind you used to get in the mail, and then in your email… if you don’t forward this to a million people, puppies will DIE! Another one has cropped up over the last few days. This one though could be potentially harmful.
When you talk to people who don’t know tech about internet safety and security on your computer, they kinda freak. It just happens. It’s not because they are crazy, it’s because they aren’t informed. I don’t expect them to be informed either, that is why I am here. To help see through the junk. Go ahead and try it sometime. Tell someone their computer/information/accounts are open to attack! See their reaction. It’s nuts! Perfectly ordinary people lose their mind, even if just for a split second.
The Facebook Status that prompted this rant is… “While on Facebook, look at your URL address; if you see http: instead of https: then you don’t have a secure session and you can be hacked. Go to Account/Account Settings/Account Security and click Change. Check at least… the first setting, FB defaults to the non-secure setting.”
Here is what is so harmful about this status. It leads you to believe that as soon as you change this one little setting, it will prevent you from ever being hacked! Which is so far from the truth it hurts my heart a little. All this setting does is change your communication with the website to a different encrypted port. Typically when you browse the internet you communicate with the websites over port 80. A port being just the “channel” that you are talking on. https uses port 443 instead, which will encrypt the data you are entering into the website. This is why most companies (if they know anything) will put their purchase page on an https. When you enter your credit card information, the data will be encrypted and sent to the website.
So what will https actually do for you? Prevent your information from being hacked by EAVESDROPPING attacks. For example, if you are at Starbucks on a public wi-fi, it would be a good idea to browse Facebook on https. This way the guy sitting next to you intercepting all of data going over to the Facebook website won’t be able to decode what you are sending.
This is the ONLY type of attack you are preventing by changing your account to https. You will still be open to the free ipad schemes, the “look at you in this video” hack, etc etc etc.
Do NOT be lulled into false security just by changing one little thing on your account (which likely doesn’t really do what you think it’s going to do for you.)