October 14, 2010

Facebook Adds 3 New Security Features

Facebook on Tuesday announced three new security features that could help you defeat account hijackers.

The first feature, a one-time password, is meant to help keep your account from being hijacked in the first place. To steal your password, hijackers often plant malicious software on poorly maintained public computers in places like cybercaf├ęs and hotels that can collect your keystrokes. To sidestep these “keylogger” programs, Facebook will now allow you to have a one-time password sent to your cellphone that you can use instead of your real password.

To use the feature, simply send a text reading “otp” to 32665. In reply, you will get a code that’s good for logging in only one time and that must be used within 20 minutes. Note that you must have previously registered your mobile phone number with Facebook.

The second feature could help you throw a ringer into a hacker’s evil plans. If you suspect someone is using your password to access your account, you can avail yourself of a feature called active sessions logout, which was announced last month but is now available to all, that lets you view information about active sessions on the site for your account. If you see that an unfamiliar device is accessing your account or that someone has logged in from a geographic location other than yours, you can end that suspicious session – and then rush off to change your password.

Find this feature by clicking “Account” at the top right of any page, then “Account Settings” and then the “change” link beside “Account Security.” (In this section, you can also register the computers and mobile devices that belong to you and request alerts be sent if a device that’s not on the list accesses your account.)

And finally, Facebook has added a feature to help you recover your account quickly if it has been a stolen and the password changed so you can’t get in, a growing problem for users of online accounts that Gadgetwise covered recently.

Following in the footsteps of Gmail and Hotmail, Facebook will now periodically ask people to provide or update their phone number, alternate e-mail addresses and security questions and answers so they can easily prove they are the rightful account owner and regain access to their account quickly. To get a jump on the program, go here to provide your details. Expect an e-mail asking you to confirm your changes

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