People take privacy on Facebook very, very seriously, and for good reason. You don’t want people seeing things that you thought were private, or a larger group of people seeing something that you though was only visible to a select few.
One of the risks that people tend to forget about when bringing their privacy pitchforks to a lovely sheen, is the role of the humble password.
As with all things of this nature, Facebook identifies us all thanks to a unique combination of username (your email address) and password which, hopefully, isn’t easily guessed.
The thing is, according to Facebook themselves, 600,000 account logins are compromised each and every day, with 1 billion account logins carried out during any 24-hour period.
Facebook says that "only 0.06 percent of 1 billion logins per day are compromised." The site is able to precisely count the number of stolen or otherwise compromised logins because it challenges the would-be hackers with additional authentication questions.
Facebook is rather happy with itself because only a tiny number of those 600,000 logins actually result in compromised Facebook accounts, although the situation does still arise.
The numbers come from Facebook’s own blog, where the social network is touting its new ‘App Passwords’ and ‘Trusted Friends’ password restoring system. The idea is simple – if by any chance your Facebook account does get hijacked, the real owner will have a real way of retrieving it. Previously, getting a stolen Facebook account back to its rightful owner could be an exercise in futility.
The main way ‘Trusted Friends’ works is actually quite simple. Facebook users nominate a circle of, you guess it, trusted friends. Facebook then sends a code to those friends should you claim your account has been compromised.
The new system should help prevent people being unable to retrieve accounts, but it is also work noting that users will want to choose their friends carefully. We all have one friend who thinks they are funny, and having them claim your Facebook account as their own as part of a prank probably isn’t as funny as they think it is.
The second feature introduced today is called ‘App Passwords’, which basically allows you to use unique passwords with third-party Facebook apps. To use ‘App Passwords’:
Simply go to your Account Settings, then the Security tab, and finally to the App Passwords section. You can generate a password that you won’t need to remember, just enter it along with your email when logging into an application.
No matter how well it pans out, Facebook must be commended for at least looking into the problem of compromised accounts, and any way to right the wrongs that go with it is gratefully received.
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