Facebook users can expect to see updated security measures after the leading social website discovered that the log-in information of thousands of members had been stolen and sold, reports Ars Technica, a leading technology website.
Facebook has come under close scrutiny these past few weeks, beginning with a letter from U.S. senators asking the social website to reconsider its new features that may jeopardize members' privacy. The need for tighter security was demonstrated days later when an internet security firm discovered that a hacker, who called himself Kirllos, had obtained the log-in information of thousands of Facebook users, according to Fox News.
The hacker put the information up for sale on a Russian black market website at bargain prices, some as little as $25, the news station reports. Facebook has not released the name of the hacker, but they have reported him to the police, Ars Technica reports. Facebook spokesmen Simon Axten said that the website identified the hacker "through IP addresses, online accounts and other information and believe that he's very likely a low-level actor," reports Computer World.
Facebook changed all corrupted passwords and notified members whose accounts had been compromised, the technology website said. Facebook has included new settings that allow users to list all computers or devices they typically use to access the site. This may include a home or work computer, cell phone, or iPod.
Facebook also updated their security settings and allowed users the option to receive alerts via text message if someone tries to access their account from an unrecognized device, Ars Technica reports. In addition, Facebook requires the user to confirm more information when they access their accounts from unfamiliar computers or devices.
By gaining access to log-in information, criminals can view personal information that the user may have restricted in their privacy settings. Information such as full name, date of birth, addresses and other identifying data can be used to commit identity theft. Identity theft affects nearly 11 million Americans each year, causing great financial loss.
The increased use of technology to transfer and store data has increased the risk of falling victim to identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission advises all social networking users to refrain from posting identifying information on websites or accepting friend requests from unknown individuals.