Facebook will be notifying its users who it thinks are becoming targets of state-sponsored hacks.
Announcing the move in a post, the social media giant said that if it believes a particular user is at risk of being targeted by a hacker, it will inform the user about it. Facebook will ask these users to turn on “Login Approvals,” which will need them to input a security code sent by Facebook in order to safely log in to their accounts. “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,” Facebook’s Chief Security Officer, Alex Stamos, said.
He said that the additional warning was important as government-sponsored attacks “tend to be more advanced and dangerous than others.” He further added, “We plan to use this warning only in situations where the evidence strongly supports our conclusion.” The latest move also urges users to secure their other online accounts.
Following the announcement, several users wondered whether the reach of the state-sponsored attacks extended to U.S. government organizations such as FBI or NSA, or to intelligence operations by U.S. allies. One user asked in a comment below the post, “Does that include the NSA or other agencies affiliated with U.S. government? How come I doubt that?” Another said, “I’m willing to bet you won’t report attacks from the ‘good guys’ e.g the UK, US, Germany etc.” Some of the other comments included “Thank you” and even “No way is FB getting my cell phone number.”
A similar secure system was launched by Google for Google Accounts in 2012, as reported by Forbes.
Facebook said it does mean that the accounts of users who receive a notice of state-sponsored breach have been compromised. However, it said that users should replace their mobile or computer devices. “Ideally, people who see this message should take care to rebuild or replace these systems if possible,” Stamos wrote.