Facebook New Security Features – Onetime Passwords and Remote Logout

Social networking site Facebook recently introduced two new features that according to Facebook will add more security to users – one time passwords and remote logout. Let us first examine what these two features are:

OneTime Passwords
The one time password is intended primarily for those who login the Facebook from computers at public places, such as Internet cafes. Any user just needs to send an SMS to a short number, and he/she will immediately receive a one-time password, which will be valid for 20 minutes. As of now the service will be available in US only.

According to the Facebook blog: “Simply text “otp” to 32665 on your mobile phone (U.S. only), and you’ll immediately receive a password that can be used only once and expires in 20 minutes. In order to access this feature, you’ll need a mobile phone number in your account. We’re rolling this out gradually, and it should be available to everyone in the coming weeks.”

Remote Logout
As the title suggests, the feature allows users to sign out of Facebook remotely and is now available to everyone. These session controls can be useful if you log into Facebook from a friend’s phone or computer and then forget to sign out.

So now that we know what the two new features is all about, will it now be safer to use Facebook? The answer is maybe yes, maybe no.

The safety of using Facebook really depends on the user. Technology can only offer a certain level of security, but how a Facebook user uses his/her account is key. Let’s site some examples:

1. If a user opens his/her account on a public PC like internet cafe for example. Now why would you open your Facebook account when you don’t even know if the cafe’s PC is secure or not? What is that PC contains a malware or a keylogger?

2. Opening your Facebook account on a free wifi. Free wifi in malls and restaurants are great, it allows people to surf the web for free, provided of course if you have your own PC with you. But free wifi is not secure. Have you noticed the agreement notice of free wifi services? That it is not secure and you have to use their services at your own risk.

Despite the given dangers, users still open their emails and Facebook accounts for some reasons I don’t know. Is it really a matter of life and death that you need to open your accounts in unsecure connections?

That is why I am saying the effectivity of these two new features will highly depend on how users uses their accounts. It’s a cool feature to have a one time password or a remote logout function but do I really them if I am a responsible user? Just asking.


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