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PostPoints tips: Leave on that "s" for security

Take a look at some of the Web addresses you've bookmarked or regularly type in: If they take you to a login prompt, do they put a lock icon in your brower's toolbar and feature an "s" at the end of the usual "http://" prefix? If neither thing happens, you're sending your login credentials unencrypted over the Internet. And that's not a tremendously smart thing, especially over public connections like local WiFi hot spots. Try editing those bookmarks to add an "https" prefix--for instance, changing your Facebook bookmark from http://facebook.com to https://facebook.com--to ensure you'll have an encrypted login. At most login pages, that change should ensure that in the unlikely event of somebody snooping on your traffic, an eavesdropper would detect only scrambled gibberish. Some sites may offer an option to require a secured login even if you type in an insecure address (see, for example, Gmail's instructions); if yours does, please take advantage of it.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  December 15, 2009; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  Tips  
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