Facebook has revealed a new feature that will notify users if it suspects their account has been hacked by parties “working on behalf of a nation-state,” including the US. If your account has potentially been compromised, a message reading “Please Secure Your Accounts Now. [User], we believe your Facebook account and other online accounts may be the target of attacks from state-sponsored actors,” will be displayed the next time you log in. Seeing such a message means that your account specifically has been compromised, rather than Facebook itself.
“While we have always taken steps to secure accounts that we believe to have been compromised,” writes Alex Stamos, Facebook’s Chief Security Officer, “we decided to show this additional warning if we have a strong suspicion that an attack could be government-sponsored. We do this because these types of attacks tend to be more advanced and dangerous than others, and we strongly encourage affected people to take the actions necessary to secure all of their online accounts.”
“It’s important to understand that this warning is not related to any compromise of Facebook’s platform or systems,” he adds, “and that having an account compromised in this manner may indicate that your computer or mobile device has been infected with malware. Ideally, people who see this message should take care to rebuild or replace these systems if possible.”
While Stamos says that Facebook cannot reveal the methods it uses to detect such attacks to maintain their integrity, he assures users that they will never appear frivolously. If you see such a message, take it seriously and change your password. Using log-in verification is also advised. Stamos adds that Facebook “will continue to improve our ability to prevent and detect attacks of all kinds against people on Facebook.”
Image courtesy of Liz McAvoy.