Facebook has introduced new security measures to logging in that allow account holders to use a physical key to access their social network profile.
The social media giant has announced it now supports the FIDO U2F security key, a physical key that’s plugged into the USB-port on a computer and is tapped to confirm login, alongside a password to open Facebook – a move it says makes accounts “immune” to hackers.
Mobile users will also be able to use NFC (near-field communication) technology – the same software that powers contactless services – to connect the key with some Android devices.
Facebook says it is still working on support for its official app.
Once activated via Facebook’s security setting, both the key and the password are needed to log in – a set-up that’s known as two-factor authentication – and a set-up Facebook also says will make remote hacking into accounts impossible.
The social network currently has more than 1.79 billion active users.
Facebook said that if users have a U2F security key, they can register it with their Facebook account via the site’s settings and do not have to use it again to log in to Facebook on that device until they clear the browser’s cache.
Keys can also be bought online.
The social network will consider the device “trusted” for user convenience, and will also block anyone from accessing your Facebook from another device, unless they have both the security key and your password.
For many Facebook users who have set up two-factor authentication, the convenience of not having to wait for a text or email will largely be offset by the need to purchase and keep track of a physical key. But a U2F device is arguably more secure than receiving a code, since it requires no Internet communication that could be intercepted.