Facebook rolls out new security features

Privacy guarded

Facebook rolls out new security features

To combat malicious attacks, phishing scams and spam, the online social network is rolling out new security features.

You can ask to be notified by e-mail or text message when your account is accessed from a computer or mobile device you haven’t used before. The log-in attempt may be legitimate when you’re traveling, but if you haven’t left home in a week, you probably ought to change your password.

Facebook is also adding roadblocks when it notices unusual activity, such as simultaneous log-ins from opposite sides of the planet. Users will also be able to check where the latest log-ins have come from. Some of these changes are already available, while others are still being tested and will launch over the next few weeks.

Fights against criticism

The new features come as Facebook faces growing criticism over the way it handles users’ privacy. The security upgrade is a sign the company is working to keep its users’ trust in the way it handles the private data they post, even as it fends of complaints from users.

Facebook already has automated systems in place that detect when users access the site in a way that “doesn’t make sense,” said Jake Brill, product manager at Facebook. This can include sending out an avalanche of messages or logging in from different countries at the same time.

The secondary account verification system that Facebook is rolling out makes sure that when people log in from elsewhere, they are authorized to do so. Brill said the requirement to enter information that only you would know, can help stop unauthorized access should your password be someway hacked.

To get notified when someone accesses an account from a new computer, you have to turn that feature on. To do this, go to “account settings,” scroll down to “account security,” then click “change.” There, you can choose to be notified of log-ins by e-mail or message.

Facebook is asking users to activate, or “opt-in” to, the security setting, even as it takes an “opt-out” approach with some of its marketing and personalization features. With opt-out, participation is automatic unless the user takes action.

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