With more than 800 million users, Facebook is taking security seriously, and in an aim to help users protect their accounts, the social networking giant has announced two new security improvements – Trusted Friends and Application Passwords.
When your Facebook account is compromised, the first basic thing the hacker/hijacker does is try changing your account’s password,
so that you don’t regain access to the account. The conventional process of changing password is that you need to enter the old password first and then the new password. Facebook is now looking forward to change this approach.
The Trusted Friends feature lets you choose three to five friends who you really trust. Whenever you or someone else is trying to change your account password, these set of trusted friends will be contacted in order to verify that you are the legitimate account owner. Or if your Facebook account gets locked down, these friends will vouch for you and help you regain access to your account. So, better be careful while choosing your “trusted” friends.
“It’s sort of similar to giving a house key to your friends when you go on vacation–pick the friends you most trust in case you need their help in the future,” the company said in a blog post.
To set up Trusted Friends:
- Go to your Security Settings page (Account > Account Settings > Security)
- Click on the Trusted Friends section
- Click Choose Trusted Friends
- Scroll through your friends or search for specific friends
- Select 5 friends and confirm your choices
Note: The feature is currently under testing stage. So, if you don’t see the “Trusted Friends” section, then you got to wait until it’s publicly available.
Facebook Application Passwords
Facebook implemented a security feature called Login Approvals, which when enabled requires users to enter a security code texted to their phone whenever they login to Facebook or Facebook apps. However, some application like Spotify didn’t properly generate the security code entry dialog, which then denied access to the app.
To overcome this issue, Facebook has announced a new feature call the Application Password. This feature lets you create a unique App Password, and prompts for it whenever you’re trying to access the app. To enable this feature, go to your Facebook Account Settings > Security and click on “Edit” App Passwords. A message box opens up stating that Login Approvals won’t work for apps like Xbox, Spotify, and Skype. Now, click on “Generate App Passwords”.
On the next screen, you are asked to enter the name of the App (Ex: Skype or iPhone). Facebook will now generate a unique alphanumeric password for the entered app name.
“There are tons of applications you can use by logging in with your Facebook credentials. However in some cases you may want to have a unique password for that application,” the blog post says. “This is especially helpful if you have opted into Login Approvals, for which security codes don’t always work when using 3rd party applications.”
The two new security features look promising, and would certainly help users keep hackers and hijackers out of their accounts. However, for an effective use, Facebook should consider running an awareness campaign or release a new version of the Official Guide to Facebook Security document.