Facebook is equipping its social networking service with secure socket layer (SSL) security protection.
The firm said that users will be able to set up the service to run through the encryption system, helping to keep information secured during transport.
Facebook is recommending the SSL option for people who often access the service through shared or public computers.
SSL has long been used by e-commerce and banking sites as a way to prevent third parties from intercepting transmissions and extracting account information.
While some researchers have questioned the robustness of SSL connections, many believe that the system plays a useful role in preventing data theft.
The SSL feature will be disabled by default and can be turned on by accessing the 'account security' page on the site's user settings. The company warned that activating the feature could cause longer loading times.
Rollout of the SSL feature comes as Facebook is looking to tighten up its security protection.
Attacks targeting social networks are expected to increase during 2011, and the site is offering one-time passwords and is testing a technique known as 'social authentication' in which users are required to identify friends and family members in photographs.
Ironically, the attacks also come as Facebook is making headlines for an embarrassing security lapse of its own. Founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg recently had his personal account compromised and his page defaced.
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