Facebook Adds 'Remote Log Out' Security Tool
Facebook is rolling out a new remote log out tool designed to beef up security for its estimated 500 million users.
The new feature allows users to see if a spammer--or anyone for that matter--has logged into their account, and to remotely log out. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company expects the tool to provide an effective way of keeping unwanted hackers at bay as social networking sites such as Facebook continue to see a surge in spamming activity.
"If someone accesses your account without your permission, you can shut down the unauthorized login before resetting your password and taking other steps to secure your account and computer," the company said on its official blog.
The feature also lets users see login times; the city where the login is taking place, based on IP address; and the browser and operating system being used to access Facebook.
Security experts say sophisticated spammers now use automated programs capable of hacking into stolen Facebook accounts and generating large amounts of spam , which tends to be extremely effective because it appears to have come from a trusted source: a Facebook friend.
[Read also "Passwords Need at Least 12 Characters to Be Safe, Study Finds ."]
In May, the company announced a login notifications feature that allows Facebook users to approve what devices are able to access their accounts and to be notified when the account is accessed from a non-approved device.
Despite these precautions, hackers are still finding ways to circumvent Facebook's security features. In a statement released Tuesday, Facebook acknowledged it was forced to patch a hole used by spammers to post automated wall messages and direct messages to friends.
"For a short period of time before it was fixed, several applications that violated our policies were able to post content to people's profiles if those people first clicked on a link to the application," the company wrote on its blog.