Facebook will now tell you if a state government is hacking your account

20 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Like’ if you don’t like Big Brother: Facebook to warn users of state-sponsored cyber attacks.

The company implemented this system because attacks from state-affiliated organizations “tend to be more advanced and dangerous than others,” Stamos said. In a statement on the Menlo Park-based company’s blog, Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos said the company will issue warnings to users to secure their account. Alerts from Facebook will include boxed messages urging targeted users to immediately secure accounts and will provide a link to turning on a feature that requires a code sent to members’ mobile phones along with a password to log in. “We can’t go into the details without giving away information that would be helpful to these bad actors, but our detailed analysis – as well as victim reports – strongly suggest the involvement of states or groups that are state-sponsored.” Once activated, people can’t access that user’s Facebook account from another device without approval. “Whenever your account is accessed from a new device or browser, we’ll send a security code to your phone so that only you can log in,” the post said. “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.” Nor has it clarified which nation-state(s) it anticipates the threats might come from: whether the concern is the US government or foreign governments habitually accused of hacking such as China. Even if you never have a Sony Pictures–style moment, there is still a lot of state-sponsored malware floating around the Internet for various surveillance and reconnaissance programs. Reports in US media this June alleged that the Chinese government was behind hacks that stole personal data of an estimated 18 million government employees. When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we’re protecting you against criminals, not our own government. “The US government should be the champion for the internet, not a threat.

Stamos is quick to clarify that “this warning is not related to any compromise of Facebook’s platform or systems.” What’s less clear is which nation-state malware will trigger the alarm. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping recently signed a pact declaring neither government would hack into private companies in the other’s country. They need to be much more transparent about what they’re doing, or otherwise people will believe the worst. “I’ve called President Obama to express my frustration over the damage the government is creating for all of our future. It’s great to give people more security monitoring and information, but Facebook itself alludes to one problem with the notifications: People probably won’t know what to do if they get one. Of course, it’s not Facebook’s responsibility to do everything for us (as much as it may want to), but the notification feature serves as a reminder that users don’t always feel empowered to take charge of their personal cybersecurity.

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