As more reports come out that reveal that state governments are spying on their own citizens, social media websites like Facebook have been taking action in order to ensure the privacy of their users.
One way that Facebook is doing this is by giving users an alert if they believe that the account of a user has been compromised or hacked by groups represented by the government.
Users who receive such an alert will be strongly encouraged to change their password and turn on a feature known as “Login Approvals”, which prevents people using unfamiliar devices from accessing the account.
The alert reads:
(User), we believe your Facebook account and your other online accounts may be the targets of attacks from state-sponsored actors. Turning on Login Approvals will help keep others from logging into your Facebook account. 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. We recommend you also take steps to secure the accounts you use on other services.
Chief Security Officer for Facebook Alex Stamos recently explained the reason that the company introduced this notification in a blog post.
The blog post read: “While we have always taken steps to secure accounts that we believe to have been compromised, 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.”
Stamos also mentioned in his blog post that the notification does not mean that Facebook as a whole has been compromised or hacked. It only means that an outside source likely accessed a person’s individual Facebook account.