Facebook Expands Advanced Security Program to More Countries

Facebook on Thursday announced that it is on track to make its Facebook Protect security program available globally.

The program is meant to help individuals at risk of being targeted by threat actors, including government officials, human rights defenders, and journalists, to better secure their accounts and prevent potential compromise.

With Facebook Protect, these individuals benefit from stronger account security protections, such as two-factor authentication, and monitoring for potential threats. The social media platform has been expanding the program globally since September 2021.

“These people are at the center of critical communities for public debate. They enable democratic elections, hold governments and organizations accountable, and defend human rights around the world. Unfortunately this also means that they are highly targeted by bad actors,” Facebook notes.

The social media platform says that more than 1.5 million accounts already benefit from the program’s enhanced security, with roughly 950,000 accounts having two-factor authentication enabled.

“We are on track to expand the program to more than 50 countries by the end of the year, including the United States, India, and Portugal,” Facebook says.

For the vast majority of the platform’s users, Facebook’s expansion plans do not require taking action. However, those who will be notified by the company that they are eligible to enroll are advised to join Facebook Protect as soon as possible.

Two-factor authentication is available to all of Facebook’s users, but adoption rates are low, even among individuals likely to be targeted by malicious hackers. Thus, the social media platform will make the feature mandatory in the future for accounts that are at high risk of being targeted.

“We know that there will always be a small subset of users that won’t immediately enroll, for example those that happen to be less active on our platform at the time of a given mandate. However, we believe this is an important step forward for these highly targeted communities. What we’ve seen so far is encouraging: in early testing, simplifying our enrollments flows, improving customer support, and mandating Facebook Protect brought adoption rates to over 90 percent in one month for these groups,” Facebook notes.

“This is definitely the direction all platforms are moving towards,” Alicia Townsend, technology evangelist at OneLogin, said in an emailed comment. “Requiring MFA is like requiring people to use seat belts in their cars. We used to not require seat belts, and in fact many people protested against it, but since we began using them, millions of lives have been saved. If we simply required MFA for all logins, millions of breaches could be prevented as well.”

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Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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