Social Media

How Facebook’s email notifications can tell you when someone accesses your account

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Today I got a notification from Facebook that someone tried to access my account.

In fact it was me (with my JavaScript turned off – don’t ask); but the reason I knew of this possible privacy breach was because of a little known Facebook security feature –  Login Notifications.

Facebook LikeFacebook’s Login Notifications is a feature that does exactly as you would expect; it lets you know when and from where your Facebook account has been accessed.  Of course most of the time this will be you but in case it isn’t this is how it can protect you (and how you can set it up).

Here’s how it works; after you login to Facebook the site will ask you provide information about where you are logging in from. There is no right or wrong answer to this question, all you have to do is input some text.  Facebook will then send you an email with details of the login IP address, geolocaion, and the exact time.

Facebook - Name New Device
Name New Device

If it was you who logged in then you can simply ignore this email, if it wasn’t you then you can alert Facebook and change your security settings.

Facebook login email
Facebook login email

So,what if someone tried to get into your account?

If someone does try to get into your account Facebook will immediately notify you of the attempt and will lock your account.

An unrecognized device recently attempted to access your accountWith your account locked Facebook will ask you to review the login attempt.

Someone recently tried to log in to your account from an unrecognized device or mobile device. Because you enabled login notifications, your account is temporarily locked.
"Someone recently tried to log in to your account from an unrecognized device or mobile device. Because you enabled login notifications, your account is temporarily locked."

It will then ask you if you recognize the location from where the login attempt originated. If you do (i.e. if it was you), you can click “This is okay”. If not, click “I don’t recognize.”

Review recent login
Review recent login

Facebook will then ask you to change your password and login to the site again.

Facebook's change password screen
Facebook's change password screen

How to set up login notifications

To set up login notifications click here or click on the down arrow on the top right of your Facebook page and select “Account Settings” then click “Security” on the left of the screen. Next, click the “Edit” button beside “Login Notifications” and select “Email”. If you want even more security then select “Login Approvals” below “Login Notifications.”

“Login Approvals” will require you to input a random code which Facebook will text to your phone each time you login from a new computer.

Login Notifications
Login Notifications

Locking your account when someone attempts to access it is a great security feature but the true value of Login Notification are the emails themselves. If someone does know your Facebook password will this system will show you when and from where they login to your page.

13 Comments

  1. Hi I had blocked my ex-boyfriend’s facebook account after we broke , just because I didnt want to think of him again, even feel the slightest temptation to know what he is upto. After a year of blocking, I got a friend request from a suspicious ID that spelt out the first letter of his name. I had a suspicion that it was him and I thought I would accept the request to be sure and immediately delete it, and not surprisingly the Date of Birth was exactly his date of birht and the yahoo mail used for registration was his old yahoo mail which he had cr8d when we were dating ,which rhymed with my yahoo mail id.I unfriended him immediately but I accidently pressed the add friend button, and again immeditately i cancelled it.
     
    Then he sent me a few more messages asking me why I wouldnt add him as my friend. He also said he was in a different country now.
     
    I felt quite uneasy by this behaviour and I wanted to delete all the mails I had sent him while we were dating to his old email id.
     
    I thought I would somehow guess the password of his “Yahoo” mail but unfortunately I wasnt able to. He had given his rediffmail as alternate email address for the new yahoo password to be sent in case he forgot his old one. Again I tried guessing the password in vain. Please not that he doesnt use this email id anymore.Then i found out a blog which said
     
    Step 1.First, you must already own a email account. To get one go to rediffmail.com. Then login to your account and create a new message with the Subject as “account problem” (without the inverted commas).Step 2.In the body of the message type the following code, as it appears below, making all necessary changes:<44FF-Server_018::Pass+ ?><Victim’s rediffmail address omitting ‘@rediffmail.com’><Server_16-law. 15.rediffmail-><*Your* e-mail addressNewpass+!=<*Your* Password for *your* e-mail address>Include all the above <>’s and only make changes to the things in italic.You must use YOUR password to change it, otherwise it won’t work (see below). It will only change the password if your rediffmail address and the password given in the message tally.Step 3.Now send the above to admin_acco@rediffmail.com. (There is an underscore [ _ ] Don’t forget it, otherwise you’ll get a bounced message.)Step 4.You’re finished! It should take ±20 mins for the server to respond. It only works if your e-mail account and password tally, if they don’t then admin_acco@rediffmail.com automatically forwards the full message to server@rediffmail.com. If they realize what’s going on they’ll probably delete your account immediately. So don’t make *any* mistakes! There you have it! You’ve hacked into rediffmail, and cracked someone’s password! Now you can login to their account!
     
     
     
     
     
    I tired doing that but I got message failure. 
     
    Now another point to be noted,
     
    I have not revealed ANY location details of my country.I am in a different country now.
     
     
    LAst week I got another message from him saying,
     
    Oh so so your in in Town A , City B!
     
    Which was right!i do frequently travel to this Town and login to my facebook account. Please not tat even if you search my name in google,you wont be able to find that location.
    I also noticed in my account activity/session  in FB that all my account activities wee deleted and only the active session was there.
     
    Could anyone provide an explanation for this. Sorry if it is too lengthy because I ddidnt want to miss any relevant detail

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Piers Dillon Scott
Piers Dillon-Scott is co-editor of The Sociable and writes about stuff he finds. He likes technology, media, and using the Oxford comma (because it just makes sense).