Facebook has come up with a new notification that’s even less welcome than a Farmville invitation: an alert that a state-sponsored actor is trying to hack into your account.
Chief security officer at Facebook Alex Stamos published a blog post about the new system, saying these types of hacks are “more advanced and dangerous” than others.
“We will notify you if we believe your account has been targeted or compromised by an attacker suspected of working on behalf of a nation-state,” Stamos writes.
“We decided to show this additional warning if we have a strong suspicion that an attack could be government-sponsored.”
Facebook is quick to point out that this doesn’t necessarily mean these government forces have compromised their platform, saying the user’s computer or smartphone might have some nasty malware on it.
A sample of what the notification will look like is sufficiently scary: “We believe your Facebook account and other online accounts may be the target of attacks from state-sponsored actors.”
We already know that governments want to access our data from Facebook – a 2014 transparency report showing that government requests for user data in the first half of the year increased by 24% from the year before – and that’s not to mention the informal routes that many seem to be taking.
It’s hard to determine how often this is happening, but if Facebook is bothering to implement an official warnings system, it must be somewhat significant.
Although it seems like something out of a James Bond film, it isn’t the first time that a tech company has moved to warn its users over the risk of state-sponsored hacks, with Google warning some Gmail users in 2012 over alleged Chinese hack attacks.
At least the next time government forces try to see what events you’ve clicked attending on Facebook but have no plans to actually go to, you’ll know about it.
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