Menu
Facebook warns users of potential state-sponsored attacks

Facebook warns users of potential state-sponsored attacks

Those who see the alert are advised to wipe their systems

Facebook will now warn people if it has a strong suspicion an account is being targeted by a nation-state.

The social networking service already takes steps to secure accounts that may have been compromised but has decided to directly alert users of the type of attack that's under way, wrote Alex Stamos, Facebook's chief security officer.

Since state-sponsored attacks can be more sophisticated "having an account compromised in this manner may indicate that your computer or mobile device has been infected with malware," he wrote.

"Ideally, people who see this message should take care to rebuild or replace these systems if possible," Stamos wrote.

The warning advises people to turn on a security feature called login approvals. When Facebook sees someone logging on from a different browser or computer, it sends a one-time passcode to their mobile phone that must be entered in order to access the account.

facebook login approvals Screenshot

Facebook can be an incredibly valuable resource if an attacker can gain the login credentials to someone's account.

A person's messages can be analyzed for sensitive information, and their contact list may be useful for figuring out relationships.

It also gives an attacker an easy way to target other people related to the person. A malicious message could be crafted that would appear to come from a known contact, making it more likely that a victim would trust it.

A variety of ways are used to attribute cyberattacks to a particular group or country, but it's not an exact science. Security experts may get clues from the servers used to mount an attack or a particular type of malware or exploit used to attack a computer.

But attackers usually have stealth on their side. They can use methods or infrastructure that make it either confusing or impossible to definitively source. For its part, Facebook doesn't plan on sharing more information than the warning.

"To protect the integrity of our methods and processes, we often won't be able to explain how we attribute certain attacks to suspected attackers," Stamos wrote. "That said, we plan to use this warning only in situations where the evidence strongly supports our conclusion."

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Facebook

Slideshows

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Reseller News looks back on a tumultuous 12 months for the New Zealand channel, assessing the fallout from a year of sizeable industry change. Whether it be local or global mergers and acquisitions, distribution deals or job changes, the channel that started the year differs somewhat to the one set to finish it - Reseller News assesses the key moments that made 2016.​

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016
​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

Hewlett Packard Enterprise honoured its top performing Kiwi partners at the second running of its HPE Partner Awards in New Zealand, held at a glitzy ceremony in Auckland. Recognising excellence across eight categories - from distributors to resellers - the tech giant celebrated its first year as a standalone company, following its official split from HP in 2015.

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel
Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix recently took to the seas for a Christmas Cruise around Sydney Harbour with its Australia and New Zealand staff, customers and partners to celebrate a stellar year for the vendor. With the sun out, they were all smiles and mingled over drinks and food.

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise
Show Comments