Some Twitter users now have mandatory SSL certificate encryption

Some Twitter users now have mandatory SSL certificate encryption Microblogging powerhouse Twitter announced this week that it would enable HTTPS use by default for a small test group of users, in a move intended to bolster the social network's data security measures.

Without the use of SSL certificates, Twitter users accessing the service via wireless networks are vulnerable to account hijacking or unauthorized viewing of their tweets, the company said. There could be performance costs to this, however.

"Some users may find Twitter over HTTPS slightly slower than plain old HTTP, especially if using an internet connection that's already slow. We're working to make Twitter just as fast on HTTPS as it is on HTTP," the firm stated.

Nevertheless, the data security gains that can be realized from the use of SSL certificates may significantly outweigh minor access speed penalties.

The seemingly universal adoption of social media has provided would-be cyber criminals with an attractive target surface for a wide array of potential attacks, according to experts, and services like Facebook and Twitter have had to scramble to keep up.