Phishing and account takeover attacks take many forms, especially on massive platforms such as Twitter or Facebook, and defending against them is a tall order. Facebook has tried a number of tactics over the years, and now the company is testing a new feature that will detect and warn users when someone else is trying to impersonate them on the network.
The system is designed to address a difficult problem on social networks: impostors. Many social media platforms allow anonymity in some form or another, but some, like Twitter, have adjusted those policies over time to require real names and identities. As more and more people connect their online identities to their real-world lives in various ways, the problem of online impostors has become a much more serious one. An attacker who has the ability to put together a convincing false account for someone else can cause serious damage to the victim’s personal and perhaps professional life.
Facebook has had more than its share of problems in this regard, and the company has made changes to its policies over the years to address them. The newest change will notify a user automatically if Facebook’s team detects that another user on its platform is trying to impersonate the victim. That alert will give the possible victim the chance to determine whether the other profile is in fact a fake or is another legitimate profile.
The company has been testing the system for several months, according to Mashable, and about three quarters of Facebook accounts have the feature enabled.