Twitter has begun enabling SSL-secured connections as the default way to connect to the micro-blogging service, allowing users to sign in by way of an HTTPS connection.
SSL-secured connections encrypt data before it is sent between the client device and the server. The data travels as encrypted packets, meaning that information such as log-in credentials cannot be harvested by intercepting traffic.
The use of secured connections is particularly important when people access Twitter from unsecured wireless networks and public hotspots, where an attacker could easily intercept traffic and harvest account details.
Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, explained in a blog post that this could have serious security implications and lead to identity fraud.
"If you log into Twitter over unencrypted Wi-Fi, e.g. at a coffee shop or airport lounge, and you don't have HTTPS enabled, a hacker could sniff your session cookie. And anyone who can sniff your session cookie can pretend to be you."
Twitter users who do not yet have HTTPS enabled by default can turn on the secured connections by selecting 'Always use HTTPS' on the Twitter account settings page.
Twitter has published a guide entitled How to set up HTTPS encryption.
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