Facebook to notify users of government spying


Facebook has upped its security credentials once again, by introducing a new alert that will warn users if their account is suspected of being targeted by state-sponsored hackers.

The short notification, pictured below, will users that their "Facebook and other online accounts may be the target of attacks from state-sponsored actors". They will then be encouraged to turn on additional protection layers, in the form of login approvals, that will only allow a new device or browser to access the account if a code sent to the user's phone is entered.

"It's important to understand that this warning is not related to any compromise of Facebook's platform or systems and that having an account compromised in this manner may indicate that your computer or mobile device has been infected with malware," said Alex Stamos, Facebook's CSO, in a blog post. "Ideally, people who see this message should take care to rebuild or replace these systems if possible."

"We plan to use this warning only in situations where the evidence strongly supports our conclusion," said Stamos, however the company will, understandably, not explain its methods in order to protect the integrity of the system.

Facebook, and other online service providers like Google and Microsoft, have been under increasing pressure to protect users from government snooping following the Snowden revelations, which showed the US was getting high levels of access to companies' systems.

The company has also joined forces with Google, Yahoo and others to oppose the proposed CISA bill currently being proposed by the US government, believing it to have an excessively wide remit.

Jane McCallion
Deputy Editor

Jane McCallion is ITPro's deputy editor, specializing in cloud computing, cyber security, data centers and enterprise IT infrastructure. Before becoming Deputy Editor, she held the role of Features Editor, managing a pool of freelance and internal writers, while continuing to specialise in enterprise IT infrastructure, and business strategy.

Prior to joining ITPro, Jane was a freelance business journalist writing as both Jane McCallion and Jane Bordenave for titles such as European CEO, World Finance, and Business Excellence Magazine.