If you are an active and avid user of Facebook, pay attention to it without fail. Meta’s Facebook has beefed up users’ account security and wants users to fall in line. However, the sudden action from Facebook has left many people wondering about the legitimacy of the process and the warning messages they are receiving.
A large number of users are receiving emails that seem to come from Facebook instructing users to turn on Facebook Protect (with a handy link to the settings) or be at the risk of losing access to their accounts as their accounts will be locked.
But the sudden action from Facebook has left many security-conscious users wondering if the email is legitimate, or suspected of “phishing attacks” in the past. Facebook, however, has confirmed that these messages are genuine and soliciting highly specific users, such as journalists, to turn on Facebook Protect feature, by using emails to send out notices to users who don’t log in to Facebook very frequently.
In fact, many users are also reporting about the sudden seizure of their accounts and seeing a popup instead. The popup instructs users to immediately active Facebook Protect and doesn’t allow them to perform any other action until it’s activated.
If you’re not familiar with the option, Facebook Protect is an additional level of security that is activated for accounts that pose a higher risk of getting hacked. Facebook encourages them to activate features like two-factor authentication as well as other options that can be modified later to make an account safer. Facebook declares that accounts that have “the potential to reach a lot of people” might require to have this feature enabled. The increasing number of phishing attacks to take over the control of accounts belonging to journalists and influencers has apparently triggered the action.
Many Twitter users have tweeted about receiving the email sent by Facebook soliciting their permission to turn on Facebook Protect feature immediately.
The sudden move by Facebook has rather confused many users. Few users considered the email as a part of a phishing attack, though there were corroborating details like an actually-from-Facebook email address (which can be spoofed). The uninvited email coupled with an ambiguous account-disabling message appeared suspicious to many. Realizing the concerns of users Nathaniel Gleicher, Meta’s head for security and security-related policy, quickly tweeted to confirm that the emails are genuine.
The move is justified in light of the current situation taking place in Ukraine as well as Facebook’s recent crackdown on journalists’ Facebook accounts belonging to Russia. However, those who have received the emails including TechCrunch’s Mike Masnick, have complained that a manual account security check doesn’t return any alerts related to account security.
A number of employees of Dazeinfo have either received the same email or saw a popup asking to activate two-factor authentication. However, not all employees have received the email or a popup on the platform to activate Facebook Protect, leaving us wondering what is the selection criteria of Facebook.
The seemingly larger distribution of emails that ask users to activate the feature may be genuine but Facebook’s choice of communication seems lethargic considering the fact that the targeted users are the ones who could easily identify phishing attacks or any other shady behavior. Such email raised more questions considering the fact that transparency has never been the hallmark of Facebook.
If you’re among the people who have received the email or a popup today, we’re able to verify that they’re genuine.
All said and done, you never know if hackers could quickly try to leverage the act on Facebook and may trick users into falling prey by showing some fraud popup or sending a fake email. Therefore, it would be a good idea to turn a blind eye to such email or popup and manually enable the same features through Facebook’s website.
Anyways, during times when cybercriminals are hyperactive, using two-factor authentication can be always an excellent idea.