Facebook 2FA to be mandatory for high-risk accounts

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Facebook 2FA (two-factor authentication) will become mandatory for accounts likely to be targeted by hackers. The move is one of a range of protections offered to high-risk accounts in order to reduce the likelihood of interference in elections.

2FA means that in addition to a password being required to login to the account from a new device, a 6-digit security code is also needed. This code is either supplied by an authenticator app, or is auto-filled on a device running iOS 15.

TechCrunch reports.

The move is part of a major expansion of Facebook Protect, the social networking giant’s enhanced security program that’s intended to protect the accounts of people who may be at particular risk, like human rights defenders, journalists, and government officials. The initiative helps these accounts adopt stronger security protections by simplifying security features — including 2FA — and providing additional security protections for accounts and Pages, including monitoring for potential hacking threats.

The program was piloted in 2018 and expanded ahead of the 2020 U.S. election in a bid to try and stop abuse and election interference from spreading on the platform. It’s now enabled on more than 1.5 million accounts, according to Facebook, and is expanding to more than 50 countries by the end of the year, including the U.S., India, and Portugal. The company is planning a further expansion in 2022.

Take-up of 2FA by Facebook Protect accounts has been reasonably high, with 950,000 out of 1.5 million using it, but the social network wants to ensure that enrollment hits 100%.

This means if a user identified by Facebook as high-risk does not enable 2FA at once a set period has expired, they won’t be able to access their accounts. The company said users won’t permanently lose access to their accounts, but will need to enable 2FA in order to regain access.

The original pilot took place in 2018, and it is likely the same approach will be used.

Facebook will put a notice at the top of your News feed to start the process – which should take “a few minutes” to complete. [Users] will have to confirm their primary country location and add two-factor authentication to their account.

We strongly recommend that everyone use 2FA for all services that support it. Where you are offered a choice of authentication methods, choosing an authentication app is much more secure than SMS. For Facebook, you can enable the feature on this page – it takes literally one minute. Using it is especially easy on iPhones and iPads running iOS 15, as there is built-in autofill.

Photo: Gursimrat Ganda/Unsplash

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