To thwart keyloggers, Facebook introduces one-time passwords

Users can text 32665 to get a password that's good for 20 minutes

Worried about logging into Facebook from a strange computer? There's now a way to get into the popular social network without entering your regular Facebook password.

It's called a temporary password, and Facebook announced the new service on Tuesday.

The idea is to make it "safer to use public computers in places like hotels, cafes or airport," said Facebook Product Manager Jake Brill in a blog post. "If you have any concerns about security of the computer you’re using while accessing Facebook, we can text you a one-time password to use instead of your regular password."

The service is being rolled out gradually to Facebook users and will be available worldwide in the next few weeks.

To use it, users must list their mobile phone numbers with their Facebook accounts. They can then text the letters "otp" to the number 32665 from their phones. Facebook sends back a temporary password that is good for 20 minutes.

The idea is to protect users in the event that a computer has been hacked and someone has installed password-stealing keylogging software on it. Instead of stealing a permanent password, the keylogger will record only a temporary password that can't be used again.

Facebook has been playing a cat-and-mouse game with scammers over the past few years as criminals find new ways to misuse the social network.

Last month Facebook introduced new ways for users to track which computers have been used to log into their accounts and to remotely log out of machines that shouldn't have access to them.

That feature was also rolled out gradually and is now available to all users, Brill said.

To stay ahead of the scammers, Facebook plans to increasingly prompt users to make sure that their contact information and security questions are up to date. This is the kind of data that can be used to recover a Facebook account if scammers manage to steal a user's password, so keeping this security information updated will make it easier for legitimate users to regain control of their accounts in case of a compromise.

Robert McMillan covers computer security and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Robert on Twitter at @bobmcmillan. Robert's e-mail address is robert_mcmillan@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet-based applications and servicessecuritysocial networkinginternetFacebook

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?