Facebook has introduced a new feature, but users will have to cough-up
Facebook has introduced a brilliant new feature for social media users.
The California-based social network has launched new measures to help users protect their accounts from hackers.
Unfortunately, Facebook users are going to have to pay-up if they want to take advantage of the new improvements.
Facebook has made its service compatible with third-party security keys like FIDO U2F – a small thumb drive-esque USB accessory that enables two-factor authentication.
Keys, like those manufactured by Yubico, plug into the USB port and generate a one-off code to input alongside your username and password.
Unlike two-factor authentication via SMS, the codes generated by a security key cannot be captured without physical access to USB itself.
With a Security Key, you can remove the Text Message (SMS) security option
In addition to being more secure, these USB-equipped accessories also make two-factor authentication a little less painful – since you don't have to wait for a text message to arrive.
And security keys will continue to work even when text messages do not.
That means you won't be logged out of your accounts because you don't have a solid 3G or 4G connection.
By including this additional layer of password protection, Facebook says it has made accounts “immune” to hackers.
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These U2F security keys, which are available on retail websites like Amazon from £16.99, can be registered to individual user accounts.
Once registered and activated via Facebook’s security settings, users will need both their password and the physical key to access their accounts.
After inputting their passwords, users are required to press the key icon on the security accessory attached to their computer’s USB port.
This will approve access and unlock your account.
The move comes after Facebook estimated that around 0.06 per cent of its user accounts were compromised each day.
The new two-factor authentication option brings extra security to Facebook
And while this might not sound like a big figure – given Facebook’s enormous worldwide user base – that percentage equates to more than 600,000 profiles.
Facebook Security Engineer Brad Hill made the announcement on the company’s official blog: "People ask all the time what they can do to make their online accounts more secure.
"Like most security professionals, I recommend setting up two-factor authentication.
"Starting today, you can register a physical security key to your account so that the next time you log in after enabling login approvals, you'll simply tap a small hardware device that goes in the USB drive of your computer."
As well as the U2F security key, Facebook also supports similar devices made by Yubico.
Compatible with certain internet browsers only, if your security key and smartphone both support NFC, the two-factor authentication can also be used on Facebook’s mobile site.
The company says it is working on adding app support in the near future.