Secure browsing can protect you on Facebook, other sites

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – A post that has been circulating on Facebook for a while suggests there is a way to make browsing the website more secure, but not everyone has been convinced it works.

Coastal Carolina University computer science professor Dr. John Stamey said Tuesday it is possible - and recommended - to change to secure browsing in Facebook.

Users of Facebook can go to the Account menu and click Account Settings where there is an option to change Account Security. That is where users have the option to enable "Secure Browsing."

"It gives you about as much security as we have available right now, that in transit your data can't be easily snooped," Stamey said. "That's the whole point."

Facebook defaults to use unsecured browsing, but Coastal Carolina University Freshman Nick Benzor said he hopes a lot of users will switch their settings. He got a virus on his Facebook account.

"I received a message, and it was for a link from one of my friends that said check out this video," Benzor said. "So I clicked on it, of course, being curious."

The virus started spamming his friends. He says it was frustrating having everyone think he was behind the annoyances.

"Next thing you know you get all these messages from all your friends like hey, quit sending me all these messages and links," Benzor said.

Using secure browsing will not stop those links from spreading spam if users click on them. However, it will keep hackers from getting into an account to see posts, messages, and passwords. That can mean a hacker looking to start a new virus to send spam will have to look for another account that is not using secure browsing.

Stamey said using secure browsing also adds an "s" in the web address for Facebook. That "s" does not need to be in every web address, but it is something that lets Internet users know if a banking, shopping, or email website is authentic and secure.

"Every time you purchase you need to make sure it says https," Stamey said.

Computer science student Joe Russell said when it comes to Facebook he takes even more steps in the privacy settings.

"So that such information as your birthday, where you live, no one can see that because if they see that, they're halfway to your social security number," Russell said.

Benzor said he has adjusted his privacy settings, but now he is going to turn on secure browsing too.

"If it keeps me from getting all these messages, I'm all for it," Benzor said.

Stamey said there is one other way people do not realize hackers can get your private information. He said cell phone text messages are easily hacked, so do not text anything like your social security number or credit card information.

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