Today, it’s good Security practice to not simply rely on one password. If that password is compromised, be it someone figuring out your password or getting it by hacking the services you use, you can get spammers using your accounts to send out messages or, worse, having personal and financial information compromised.
That’s why there’s been a big push toward two-factor authentication. Usually, this involves having a special code sent to your phone — that way, to have your accounts compromised, the hacker would need access to both your phone and your password. As part of a privacy and security shakeup this week, Facebook is adding another longstanding option — the use of special USB security keys loaded with a special code matched to your account.
It’d work just like opening a door with a key — along with your password, the detection of the USB key in one of your drives will verify your identity, letting you into your account. But, we’re not talking about ordinary USB keys — these are dedicated security keys that use the Universal 2nd Factor standard to work as security devices. Facebook recommends a company called Yubico, but there are several companies making these kinds of USB keys.
The downside is that it won’t work with Facebook’s mobile app, although it can work with the mobile website if you get a USB security key with NFC connectivity. There are plenty of upsides, though — it’s less likely to get stolen than your phone, and it can be used with any service that has enabled security key authentication, not just Facebook. It’ll also work if you happen to be somewhere where you’re not getting reception, which can be a big problem with using text message codes for authentication. However, for Facebook, this feature is currently only designed to work with the Chrome or Opera browsers.
Facebook also announced that they’ve overhauled their privacy settings, which they’ve badly needed to do for a while. It’s far more user-friendly now, with frequently searched topics listed prominently on top. It’s also much easier to tailor your privacy and advertising settings — the new layout is designed to guide you to the information you need. Beats the previous privacy center, where stories of how to change the right settings were whispered online like the In-N-Out secret menu.
This story was originally published at You Can Now Unlock Your Facebook Account With a USB Key