An attack on Gawker, which runs one of the world’s most popular blog networks, was carried out over the weekend by an organization calling itself Gnosis. Millions of web users including on Yahoo, Twitter and LinkedIn were asked to reset their passwords as concerns spread over a major hacking attack.  Fortunately even though thousands of Twitter accounts were vulnerable after the attack, there have been minimal reports of damage directly linked to the hacker attack.   Many companies have taken steps to identify users at risk and warn them before any other security risks take place.

Tips for keeping your password safe

  • Never use the same password across lots of different websites
  • Do not use a word that you – or a hacker – could find in the dictionary: these are susceptible to so-called ‘brute force’ attacks
  • Try to include some digits and special characters to add a layer of complexity that will make life difficult for a criminal
  • Pick a phrase or mnemonic that helps you remember your password
  • You can avoid having to remember passwords altogether by using a password manager program. There are many available to download online

Analysis of the breach has triggered a widespread defensive response because it emerged that many users had chosen common words and codes that left them wide open to abuse. A common practice used by millions of online users that is strongly discouraged.

According to studies, 33% of people admitted using the same password for every single website they visit. 48% said they used just a handful of different codes, while just one in five said they never used the same password twice.

The major issue is poor password choices and the effort needed by users to make better, smarter, varied selections of secure passwords. Remember to always be one step ahead of hackers and make sure to use passwords that will avoid them from accessing your accounts.

Facebook is in the process of rolling our two new features to its users; the ability to download (and backup) your entire profile, and new security enhancements that allow you to control who and what is logged into your account, new one time password (OTP) support, and finally ability to be notified when someone signs into your account.

Ability to Download Your Information

The “Download Your Information” ability is quite useful as you can download a single zip archive file containing all of your profile information, photos, wall posts, messages, videos, friend lists, and other related content, this download also includes a table of contents-like HTML page for you to quickly access your information when you unzip the archive file.

This feature provides Facebook users with a simple way to backup or retrieve all of their information within their account, thus making it easy to back-up your information, as well all know data loss is never a fun experience.

Once the feature rolls out to your account, all you need to do is head to Account > Account Settings > Download Your Information, you will find a “learn more” link, which will take you to the Download Your Account page, and from there you will the popup below, letting you chose to download all the information.

Enhanced Facebook Security

One Time Passwords – If you have your cell phone registered on your Facebook account, you may now utilize the new one time password option by sending a text message of “otp” to 32665, it will reply with a unique single use password, allowing you to login with the single use password during the next 20 minutes, once.

This one time password option is an excellent way to help keep your account secure when logging in from a computer, device or network that you do not trust or are uncertain of, such as public wifi at an airport, or a local coffee shop.

Facebook Session Control – You may now view what devices are actively logged into your Facebook account, and you have the ability to end their sessions immediately. This feature does not appear to reflect sessions on my android mobile phone, only web browser sessions, I hope to see Facebook expand to support all devices soon.

Facebook Login Notification – While checking out Facebook’s new session controls, I also came across another new feature of Facebook, which is the ability to have an email, or a text (SMS) message sent to you when someone logs into your account.

It is nice to see big social networks such as Facebook stepping up to the plate and keeping up with today’s security needs and also providing its user base with new enhanced features. Let me know your thoughts on Facebook’s new features!

The primary image used was taken from