Facebook launches Trusted Friends in bid to boost security

Security took centre stage again today as Facebook announced its new app passwords as well as the "trusted friends" user option.

With third party app security concerns on the increase, the Trusted Friends option will allow users to choose three to five friends who can help if they are locked out of their account, much like giving a neighbour the key to the door. Codes will be sent out to the chosen friends who can pass them on to the user who can then log back into their account.

In addition, Facebook will allow users to add passwords for some apps: "There are tons of applications you can use by logging in with your Facebook credentials. However in some cases you may want to have a unique password for that application," said Facebook. "This is especially helpful if you have opted into Login Approvals, for which security codes don't always work when using 3rd party applications."

Users simply need to go to Account settings, click on the security tab and access the "App Passwords" section. They can then select a password that they won't need to remember, instead, they simply enter it along with the registered email when logging into an application.

The new features are the latest in a range of ways Facebook is tackling security and privacy as users are being increasingly targeted by more sophisticated hacking scams: "Our considerable work has undoubtedly made Facebook a safer environment—less than half a percent of users experience spam on any given day and only a fraction of fraction of a percent of our users ever experience any security-related issues," Facebook said.

"But we know there's plenty of more work to be done, so we will keep striving to make sure that every time you log in to Facebook, you have a safe and social experience. We are adapting and responding to new threats everyday and will continue to bring the people that use our site new ways to protect themselves."

And with over 800 million users, it's no wonder that security and privacy are Facebook's number one concerns. Recent coss-site request forgery (CSRF) attacks, where a technique that abuses the trust relationship between websites and authenticated users, have been a particular problem for the social networking giant. Facebook has said that it is working with browser vendors on solutions to hacking attacks, as well as constantly monitoring accounts for suspicious behaviour.

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