Security Experts:

Facebook to Warn Users of State Sponsored Attacks

Facebook has announced a new measure meant to improve the security of user accounts, saying that it has begun notifying users on suspected account or system compromise.

According to the social network, users will be informed on any suspected compromise from an attacker believed to be working on behalf of a nation-state. The company is already monitoring accounts for potentially malicious activity while offering users the possibility to proactively secure their accounts, and the new security measure is building on this foundation.

In addition to a warning on the possible malicious activity, Facebook will provide users with the possibility to turn on Login Approvals, which would ensure that third-parties cannot login into a user’s account. As soon as the account is accessed from a new device or browser, the user receives a security code on the phone, so that only they could login.

Alex Stamos, Chief Security Officer at Facebook, explains in a blog post that the warnings are not being sent out because Facebook's platform or systems have been compromised, but that user’s computer or mobile device might have been infected with malware.

“To protect the integrity of our methods and processes, we often won't be able to explain how we attribute certain attacks to suspected attackers. That said, we plan to use this warning only in situations where the evidence strongly supports our conclusion. 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,” Stamos concluded.

 

According to the Stamos, users will receive notifications only on attacks suspected to be government-sponsored, because these types of attacks tend to be more advanced and dangerous when compared to other attacks.

In June, Facebook announced two security tools aimed at helping users better secure their accounts and remove malware from their computers. The former is Security Checkup, a tool designed to inform users on the browsers and apps they used to access their accounts, while the latter is a cleanup tool deployed in collaboration with AV firms such as Kaspersky Lab.

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