Facebook Tests Account Recovery Feature With GitHub

01 February, 2017, 07:22 | Author: Alicia Barber
  • Facebook challenges email for control of your online identity

Delegated Recovery has the potential to change how people get back into accounts that have been locked for security reasons, such as typing in the wrong password too many times. The tool has been open-sourced and added to Facebook's bug bounty program so researchers can test it and point out any security vulnerabilities before offering it up to other websites and platforms as a traditional 2FA alternative. This is according to Facebook Security Engineer Brad Hill who spoke at the Enigma Usenix conference in Oakland, California, on Monday. It takes an account that is already presumed to be trustworthy-Facebook is already used by millions as the de facto account username and password for non-Facebook accounts-and uses it to unlock one of your non-Facebook online services. He continued, "A way to recover access, using identities and services you trust", adding that the "process needs to be easy, secure, and respectful of your privacy". This recovery token is stored within your Facebook account and can be used to re-authenticate the said third-party service at any instant.

Facebook will be launching a feature that allows you to recover access to other website sites, which leapfrogs the need for email as a user verification tool.

Facebook is proposing it become another option for account recovery. When you enable delegated recovery, Facebook creates a special recovery key or token that gets associated with your Facebook account. As these tokens are encrypted, Facebook says that it can not read users' personal information. Emailing a link to the address registered with the account is one way of granting access, although it assumes the email address's account hasn't been compromised and that the user can still get into their inbox.

But, Facebook has worked out a better solution for the same.

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This followed an admission from the company in September that personal information for 500 million users was stolen in 2014. Fourth quarter revenue came to $1.47 billion, up 15.7% year over year and also topping forecasts of $1.38 billion.

Typically, when people forget their password to a site, they're forced to answer a security question or send a password reset request to their email.

"As we've seen with Guccifer's hacking of Colin Powell and others, once you are famous enough all security questions are trivia", Hill said. It will include a time-stamped counter-signature, asserting that the user is the same person who saved such token. The entire process apparently takes just a few clicks and is performed through HTTPS. Github and Facebook are planning to jointly reward security issues reported against the specification itself.

Facebook has also published the protocol at the base of this new mechanism in a GitHub repository, and together with GitHub's staff plan to release a series of open-source libraries in various programming languages to assist other online services in implementing Delegate Recovery in their user authentication systems.

Compromised Email accounts can also be used to gain access to a number of different accounts.



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