With all the recent data security breaches in the news, it seems that everyone is finally starting to realize the necessity of two-factor authentication in this day and age. Most recently, the social networking giant Facebook, announced their new implementation of a two-factor authentication method which they have dubbed “log-in approval”. The new implementation comes at a time where attacks targeting social networking users have increased in popularity since many internet users are still very oblivious to the wide world of threats out there waiting for them. As such, many of these users tend to place way too much trust in the security of those sites.

The implementation of Facebook’s “log-in approval” is an extremely important move for the social networking giant as they continue to face an ever-increasing number of threats to their users, most likely due to the continued growth and increasing popularity of social networks. In fact, according to Microsoft’s semi-annual Security Intelligence Report, they stated that phishing attacks targeting users of social networking sites increased by 1200% between the beginning and end of 2010. At the start of 2010, 8.3% of phishing attempts were targeting users of social networks accounted and by December 2010, that number had skyrocketed up to 84.5%.

Here’s how Facebook’s new “log-in approval” security feature aims to help. When a user tries to access their account from an unrecognized computer, Facebook will send a unique, one-time code via SMS to the user’s mobile device in order to validate the user is who they claim to be. Upon entering the one-time code, the user will be given the choice to set that particular device as a valid and trusted location for accessing their account so that the new two-factor authentication process will not have to be repeated each time the user logs on from that location.

Additionally, the new “log-in approval” authentication feature will help with prevention of account hijacking by warning the user if there is a login attempt to their account from a non-trusted device. The only downside to the “log-in approval” security feature is that if a user is attempting to login to their account from a new location, but they are unable to access to their mobile device, they will not be able to obtain access their account until they login from a recognized computer and disable the “log-in approval” feature. Google implemented a similar security authentication method for Gmail users back in February, and since so many people use social networks for personal as well as business reasons, this new move by Facebook to heighten security and protect their users could not have come at a better time.

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