Facebook’s New Settings – part 1 – Security

The first in a series that will describe the many and varied new or hidden options of Facebook.

Decorative Image - Facebook Security Settings
In recent weeks Facebook have released several updates to their platform, some are right on the home page like Top Stories and News Tickers while others are behind the scenes and often go unnoticed.  Over the next few weeks I aim to outline the major changes and options that might not receive so much mainstream publicity.

Facebook New Security SettingsSecurity Settings

Click the thumbnail to open a larger screen shot image. To find this page first select Account Settings from the drop-down menu at the top right hand corner, and then select Security on the left hand side. Or use this link https://www.facebook.com/settings?tab=security

Security Question

Quite obvious and pretty common all over the web.  You’ll be asked for this answer if you reset your password or try to carry out other security actions.

Secure Browsing

This forces Facebook to use a secure (click here for an earlier post that explains HTTPS) connection.  Unfortunately as it’s an account setting you need to be logged in for it to take effect so you’ll probably have logged in over an unsecured connection, but it’s better than nothing. NOTE: This will break some Facebook applications that have been poorly written and you may be prompted to disable this setting.  The choice is yours.

Login Notifications

Facebook will send you an email whenever your Facebook account is accessed from a new computer or phone.  This can help if you think someone else is accessing your account.

Login Approvals

You’ll be prompted to enter a one-time security code each time you log in from a new computer, phone or device (also if you clear the cache).  The security code will be sent as a text message so you’ll need to provide your mobile phone number.  You can set your profile to not share your mobile number with anyone else if you like.  This helps to reduce the changes of someone else being able to log onto your Facebook account.

App Passwords

Some Facebook Apps don’t support login security codes yet so this provides an additional password for such applications.

Trusted Friends

Pick five people you trust and can easily get in touch with.  If you forget your Facebook password or lose your phone and have Login Approvals enabled, Facebook will send your trusted friends a security code each.  You’ll need three of the five security codes to regain access to your Facebook account.

Recognised Devices

This works with Login Approvals to show a list of computers, phones and devices that you have approved for logging on to your Facebook account.  You can remove devices from the list if you no longer use them.

Active Sessions

Shows you details of all the places/devices that are currently logged on to your Facebook account including the logon time, approximate location, and device details like operating system and web browser.

I hope this helps. More details will follow in the coming weeks but if there is a particular setting, page or feature that you’d like me to look into please let me know and I’ll try to prioritise them.

3 thoughts on “Facebook’s New Settings – part 1 – Security

  1. Cat

    Thanks for that, mission keeping up with the changes at my age 😉

    Facebook’s new timeline feature should make for an interesting security issue.. the main point they seemed to be putting across at f8 was how facebook should tell the story of your life.. I was interested to see they made a point of how you could even put where you were born at the start and post your first pet.. Definitely glad you made the point of being careful about that in: http://garyhawkins.net/2011/07/29/pii-and-tmi-giving-the-game-away/

    Oh, and to my actual question. Do you think the login approval system is a good idea? Presumably a lot of people will select 5 friends within a friend group, at which point it sounds like relatively easy access for your friends for pranks..

  2. thegaryhawkins Post author

    Hey Cat, A good question but I refrained from ‘advising’ of what I think is best practice so people can’t come back and blame me if/when something goes pear shaped.

    Personally, I think the Login Approval is a very good tool but it can fail if you share a computer say with house mates or in a Uni lab.

    As for the trusted friends, yup that is a bit of a flaw but I’d hope people would have the sense (yeah right!) to pick from different groups say work colleagues, friends, family.

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