In an interesting twist to an ongoing story, Facebook has revealed it will now tip off people whose profiles it suspects are targets of espionage carried out or “sponsored” by nation states.
Users whose accounts have been compromised will now receive a pop-up notification warning them that “state-sponsored actors” (i.e. secret agents) are possibly now in control of their profile and that they should switch on an additional security feature called “Login Approvals”, which enables two-factor authentication. This kind of authentication might include entering a secret code sent securely via SMS to a burner phone in a dead drop in the laundry room of a Madrid hotel, among other methods.
In 2013, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hotly denied colluding with NSA and other security services to allow mass surveillance of users via the PRISM project. Stories later emerged, however, claiming Facebook and Google collaborated with the agencies to build secure back-doors into their sites where agents could gather intelligence easily and securely.
Facebook declined to say how it would identify that an attack was “state-sponsored”.