Feeds

Facebook account-protection push opts for scare tactics

Give us your number... bitch

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Facebook has quietly begun testing new account-protection features but the scary wording of prompts to try out the technology might easily be mistaken for a sophisticated phishing attack.

Users of the social network might be offered the protection via an ad in the side panel which reads: "Your account protection is very low - increase protection". Clicking through the ad leads to a page on Facebook that encourages users to submit a second email address and a phone number. In some cases it also asks users to change their security question.

The phone number is requested even if users have previously deleted this information from their profile, making it appear like a push to get users to add their phone numbers on the basis that this will speed account recovery if something goes wrong.

Gmail recently introduced a similar procedure for webmail account recovery, and the basic approach is fair enough, though some will be understandably wary of handing over their phone number to either Gmail or Facebook.

It's far easier to fault Facebook for the vague and scaremongery warning that comes with the account protection push. Saying to users "Your account protection is very low - increase protection" mimics the approach of phishing scams, which are certainly not unknown on Facebook. Trend Micro warned of one such phishing scam only earlier this week.

A Reg staffer was confronted by the account protection push earlier this week and it certainly wasn't immediately obvious – to us or to the security firms we spoke with – that the approach was legitimate. The Allfacebook blog reported the roll-out of the "improved" account protection approach on Tuesday, but its report concentrated on the "change of security question" issue.

We asked Facebook to comment on the tactics of its account protection campaign but had yet to hear back from the dominant social network at the time of going to press. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.