Facebook Tells You If A Government Is Hacking Your Account

Photographed by Rockie Nolan.
Last week, Facebook demonstrated how to protect yourself from your past — and over the weekend, the social network showed how it's protecting you from the government, too.

Facebook has a new kind of notification that will pop up if the social network believes your account is the target of a government-backed attack, whether from our own nation or another country. This type of attack is unrelated to any compromise of Facebook's platform or systems; it's a sophisticated entity that is specifically targeting your account.

It's always been Facebook company policy to track whether malicious third parties are watching your Facebook activity, but the decision to alert you when this is detected is new. When monitors see that your account is being targeted by outside surveillance, they will notify you immediately and offer to link you to your account settings to adjust your account's privacy and log-in approval.

This new alert is useful for more than just your Facebook account: In a blog post, Facebook chief security officer Alex Stamos says that "an account compromised in this manner may indicate that your computer or mobile device has been infected with malware." In other words, this notification system will benefit users who have been hacked in any way. These users will have more time to change their passwords and security settings and thus prevent losing more personal info to hackers. To protect your phone and computer, you should follow these nine best practices.

Hopefully, you'll never see this alert. Stamos says that security monitors will only notify you of suspicious activity when there is substantial proof of an attack on your account, and that Facebook "will continue to improve [its] ability to prevent and detect attacks of all kinds against people."

Hackers, beware: Our friendly neighborhood Facebook is on patrol.
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