HOW TO: Get Notified When Someone Hacks Your Facebook

Facebook has just announced a new tool that notifies you by e-mail or SMS text message when someone logs into your Facebook profile from an unknown computer, the Mashable reports.

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook. Photo: NY Times

Facebook has just announced a new tool that notifies you by e-mail or SMS text message when someone logs into your Facebook profile from an unknown computer, the Mashable reports.

The idea of new security tool is to help you recognize when someone has broken into your account, so you can respond quickly by either changing your password (if that’s still possible) or contacting Facebook Support.

Once you enable the notifications, you’ll be required to identify each computer you use to log in when you first use it and choose whether or not it’s a private or public machine.

You’ll be also able to see a history of registrations from machines potentially used by hackers, and of course those hackers will be forced to type something into the identification field to get in, so you should be able to tell whether it was just a login that you forgot or not.

And here’s a guide to turning this feature on and using it. Let’s begin.

Step 1: Go to Your Account Settings and Enable Notifications.

When you’re logged into Facebook, you’ll see the word “Account” in the top right corner of the browser window. Click there to get a drop-down menu of options, then click on “Account Settings.”

You’ll end up looking at a page that lists ways you can customize your account, including “Name,” “Password,” “Linked Accounts” and “more.” As long as you don’t navigate away from the “Settings” tab, you’ll see “Account Security” close to the bottom of the list. Click “change” on the right to show the following option:

If you select the option to receive notifications for logins from new devices, when you log in, you’ll be asked to name and save the various devices you use to access Facebook. So, check “Yes” and then click “Save.” The feature is turned on. Now we’ll show you how to use it.

Step 2: Log In and Register Your Computer

The settings won’t be customizable until you register the computer you’re logged in with, so you’ll have to first log out and then log back in. You can do this from the “Accounts” button in the top-right corner, as we mentioned before. When you log in again, you’ll see a screen (see the picture below) titled “Register this computer.”

So, type the name of the computer in and choose whether you want Facebook to remember this computer or not.  If the computer is a public one (like one you’d use at a library, a shared work computer or a machine in your school’s computer lab), leave the box unchecked, so it will have to be registered each time a new login occurs, leading to an email or text notification.

If it’s a machine you use every day, then go ahead and check the box; you probably don’t want to receive an email every time you log into Facebook from your own computer.

Now that your computer is registered, you can see more options when you revisit the “Account Settings” page where you first enabled the notifications. You’ll see a history of registrations; it won’t record every time you log into a computer that’s already registered, but it will record every new registration, which should include at least the first time any personlogs in.

You can check or uncheck the option to have the immediate notifications sent to your cell phone via text message in addition to the basic email option.

Step 3: Facebook to Block Suspicious Logins

Facebook has also built a new system to block suspicious logins before they happen. When we see that someone is trying to access your account from an unusual device, we’ll ask the person to answer an additional verification question to prove his or her identity as the real account owner.

For example, we might ask the person to enter a birth date, identify a friend in a photo or answer a security question if you’ve previously provided one. These questions are designed to be easy for you, and hard for a hacker, and we’ve already seen some great results.

Once you’ve confirmed your identity, you’ll have the opportunity to review recent logins on your account and reset your password if you see logins that you don’t recognize.

We’re confident that these new tools and systems will do a lot to prevent unauthorized logins and the nuisance they can cause. As always, though, the first line of defense is you. We need you to help by practicing safe behavior on Facebook and wherever you go online.

Be careful where you enter your password, and don’t download suspicious-looking software. We’ve posted more tips and information on how to be safe on our Facebook Security Page, so check it out and “Like” it for ongoing updates. [Facebook’s Blog via Mashable]

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