Twitter Boosts Security, Enables New HTTPS Browsing Option

Do you access your Twitter feed via public Wi-Fi? If so, you should enable Twitter's new secure browsing safeguard. Here's how.

Back in January, Facebook took steps to enable safer browsing by adding an HTTPS—Hyptertext Transfer Protocol Secure—option to all of its user accounts. On Tuesday, Twitter followed suit and enabled a similar feature to let users always browse in HTTPS, which adds extra security safeguards when you're browsing over unsecured connections, such as public or unsecured Wi-Fi spots.

Twitter's addition of HTTPS browsing comes two weeks after popular Twitter user and actor Ashton Kutcher's Twitter account was hacked at the TED conference, a tech-industry innovation event.

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Reports stated that the hacker may have used a Firefox browser-extension called Firesheep that exploits session hijacking vulnerabilities, to overtake Kutcher's account while he was connected to a public Wi-Fi hotspot.

Twitter users have already been able to securely access the site via HTTPS by visiting https://twitter.com. And HTTPS is already enabled—whether or not you use the new setting—in two instances: when you log into Twitter, so you password is protected, and on the official Twitter for iPhone and iPad mobile app. This newest update adds the option to always browse in HTTPS.

To turn on HTTPS, visit twitter.com, click on your username and select "settings." Then check the box next to "Always use HTTPS."

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Note: Even if you turn on HTTPS in your Twitter settings, the safeguard does not yet apply when visiting the site in a mobile Web browser. To visit the secure site in a mobile browser, you'll need to visit https://mobile.twitter.com.

[Want more Twitter tips, tricks and analysis? Check out CIO.com's Twitter Bible: Everything You Need to Know About Twitter.]

Kristin Burnham covers Consumer Technology, SaaS, Social Networking and Web 2.0 for CIO.com. Follow Kristin on Twitter @kmburnham. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Kristin at kburnham@cio.com

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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