Industry News

Facebook knows if a government is spying on you

Photo credits: Pixaday / geralt

Facebook will start alerting users who are under government surveillance and may be infected with dangerous malware, according to an official Facebook note.

Starting today, we will notify you if we believe your account has been targeted or compromised by an attacker suspected of working on behalf of a nation-state,” said Alex Stamos, chief security officer at Facebook.

If the company has a “strong suspicion” you are targeted by spies with the help of sophisticated malware, it will send you this message:

fb

This is one notification you wouldn’t want to see, right? Facebook says it’s not an indication that Facebook itself has been hacked in any way.

However, the network will not say how it reached this conclusion. It probably pieces together clues regarding successive failed login attempts, regular government requests for data and suspicious phishing campaigns. Hmm… does this also mean Facebook will start pointing fingers at governments?

Facebook users may be targeted since their accounts hold an abundance of private data, as well as links to thousands of people, including terrorist suspects or felons.

The social network recommends using Login Approvals to secure your online account. The security feature is similar to login alerts, but with an extra security step. If you turn on login approvals, you’ll be asked to enter a security code each time you try to access your Facebook account from a new computer, phone or browser.

Here’s how to enable it inside your Facebook account:

  • Go to your Security Settings
  • Click the Login Approvals section
  • Check the box and click Save Changes

“We hope that these warnings will assist those people in need of protection, and we will continue to improve our ability to prevent and detect attacks of all kinds against people on Facebook,” the note concludes.

Do you feel safer knowing Facebook will warn you against state-sponsored attacks?

About the author

Alexandra GHEORGHE

Alexandra started writing about IT at the dawn of the decade - when an iPad was an eye-injury patch, we were minus Google+ and we all had Jobs. She has since wielded her background in PR and marketing communications to translate binary code to colorful stories that have been known to wear out readers' mouse scrolls. Alexandra is also a social media enthusiast who 'likes' only what she likes and LOLs only when she laughs out loud.

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