Facebook begins to require certain accounts in France to have strong authentication

Internet users in France are beginning to receive messages from Facebook asking them to activate two-factor authentication, otherwise they will lose access to their account. The measure is part of the presidential election of 2022 and only concerns profiles with a certain notoriety.

In order to better protect their account, Facebook offers two-factor authentication for anyone who wants it. This protection is optional and the social network has not been expected to change this on a large scale. But every rule has its exception: double authentication will become mandatory for a certain number of profiles that are deemed worthy of interest or likely to be targeted.

This particular program is called Facebook Protect and has existed since 2018 in the United States, first in the form of an experiment before being launched in 2020. Meta, the parent company of the social network, has announced its extension to several countries around the world in a December 2 statement. France is one of the countries concerned by this first extension of Facebook Protect.

What is it about ? A device that authorizes if the account is properly protected, with a good password, but also with strong authentication. If not, Facebook asks you to enable it. You have no choice: if you do not do so before the date announced in the message, access to the profile is neutralized. We received such a notification in the editorial staff of Numerama.

What the request looks like on the account of one of our journalists.

With double authentication, an additional layer of protection is added to the account, in addition to the password. This way, security remains in place even if the password is compromised. Typically, this verification takes the form of either a code received via SMS or a code generated via an app, which has been synced to the account. These codes are temporary.

Everyone is not concerned: it is the people likely to have an audience who are chosen to enter this program. Mentioned in particular are political personalities, members of a government, journalists and human rights defenders. These profiles are necessarily more exposed to malicious attacks than ordinary individuals.

A measure in connection with the 2022 presidential election in France

This measure is in line with the French presidential election of 2022, to avoid attempts at manipulation or misappropriation that could take place in the coming months. Third parties could seek, for example, to hack an account with a certain notoriety to disseminate false information during the ballot, in an attempt to direct it.

It is for this reason that Facebook specifies, in another press release sent to the press, that its measure will concern ” presidential candidates “, but also the people who administer their pages or their profiles on the social network. Even if Facebook could act to regain control of a hijacked account, you might as well avoid the occurrence of such a scenario.

Facebook considers these different groups to be “ most targeted by hacker attacks “. The measure is being extended to more than fifty countries by the end of the year. It could take a few months. Then, it will be generalized to the whole planet, because the perils mentioned for France can occur for any exam, anywhere in the world.

In our case, the alert arrived on the mobile app on December 2. It is explained that the account ” is likely to affect many people “and, therefore, he needs” enhanced security “. The social network leaves a period of several days to act. As far as our colleague is concerned, he must do the configuration before December 18th. Prudence being mother of safety, he has already configured everything.

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