Facebook to Add Security Feature to Thwart Spammers

By Tracey E. Schelmetic September 03, 2010

It’s not news that Facebook is often the recipient of criticism for its inconsistent security policies. With the number of security fixes, patches and functions being added on a regular basis, however, it seems the social networking giant is finally getting a clue to user’s wants. Back in May, the company simplified its user security settings (before that, users required a check-list and a map in order to set their security settings to the highest level). 

At that time, the company also launched a log-in notification feature that lets users know when different devices log into their account. When the company launched the new fixes, company CEO Mark Zuckerberg commented that Facebook had always offered a broad range of privacy controls, but "if you find them too hard to use then you won't feel like you have control. Unless you feel in control, then you won't be comfortable sharing and our service will be less useful for you. We agree we need to improve this.”

Now, it seems, it may not only be your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, nosy neighbor or annoying PTA acquaintance trying to get access to your personal information. Spammers are keen to get into your account, too. To accomplish it, spammers use fake phishing sites to trick Facebook users into entering their usernames and passwords. They then use those credentials to send spam messages to as many of a user’s Facebook friends as possible. Many spammers have now developed automated programs that log into stolen Facebook accounts for the sole purpose of sending out mountains of spam. Last week, fraudsters used hacked Facebook accounts to send bogus free iPad offers.

Facebook has addressed the problem this week with a new security fix. Users will now have access to a new security feature that allows them to see which computers and devices are logged into their Facebook accounts, at which time they can remove the ones that they don't want to have access. A second purpose to this feature will also help user security: it allows users to log out of computers and devices not their own they might have used: computers in an Internet café, for example, or a friend’s smart phone.

The feature will be rolled out gradually. Users will be able to access the login control feature by going to “account settings” and checking the account security section.

Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TechZone360. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

TechZone360 Contributor

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