16340

Facebook celebrates Data Privacy Day early

Comprehensive secure HTTPS connection, social authentication and... Zuckerberg fan page gets hacked?

Technology trends and news by Ronny Kerr
January 27, 2011
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/165b

Happy Data Privacy Eve! Merry Data Privacy Eve? Well, Wikipedia calls it a “holiday,” but I don’t know. I love keeping my data private as much as the next Web surfer with “nothing to hide,” but I’m just a little skeptical about how excited anyone can get over an international holiday dedicated to raising awareness about data privacy.
 
Still, I’m glad one of the most data-fattened websites in the world is trying to get in the spirit.
 
Facebook announced this week that it is launching two new powerful security features: a secure HTTPS connection for the entire site and social authentication.
 
HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is a protocol that provides an encrypted connection, and is commonly used by shopping sites and banking sites, to secure customer billing information, and when logging into websites, to safeguard passwords. Now, Facebook is giving users the ability to access the entire website over HTTPS.
 
For anyone who commonly uses the site while connected to public Wi-Fi hotspots, this is an absolute must. To activate the new feature, simply navigate to your Account Settings, and the option should appear as a single checkbox under “Account Security.”

 
Though Facebook says the new feature is being made available immediately, some users may not see it yet. (I know because mine hasn’t shown up yet.)
 
The other new security feature, social authentication, is intended to thwart human hackers trying to compromise your account. If Facebook detects suspicious activity on your account, like a login in Australia just hours after you logged in at your home in California, Facebook will prevent access until completion of a little test: name the friends in the photos. The test is multiple choice, so no one can say it’s foolproof, but it’s definitely a powerful step in the right direction.

 
It’s like captcha on steroids: literally impossible for a robot to pass and pretty difficult for any hacker, unless the hacker is one of your friends in the photos.
 
Ironically enough, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s fan page was compromised last night by a hacker clearly unhappy with the company’s recent $1.5 billion investment round. He left the following message, which amassed 1,700 likes before removal:
 
Let the hacking begin. If facebook [sic] needs money, instead of going to the banks, why doesn't Facebook let its users invest in Facebook in a social way? Why not transform Facebook into a 'social business' the way Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus described it? [Link] What do you think? #hackercup2011
 
If Facebook actually let users invest in the site, then it might actually need to listen to their feedback, and no one wants that. Jokes aside, it's a little embarrassing to announce all these nifty security features, only to be hacked in the same day.

Related news