There are few things more aggravating than losing access to an online account that you use frequently.  That loss becomes especially scary when you think you’ve lost control because of a potential hacking incident.  While some applications are moving to 2 factor authentication, Facebook just announced on May 2nd their new security tool for helping Facebook users regain control over a “lost” Facebook account.

The new feature is called “Trusted Contacts” and I just read 2 excellent articles about it.  Paul Ducklin’s article contains both useful information as well as graphics (www.nakedsecurity.sophos.com; “Facebook introduces Trusted Contacts, makes you ask, “How much do I trust my friends?”); and Jared Newman’s article has additional information as well as some cautionary notes (www.csoonline.com; “Facebook Trusted Contacts lets friends bail you out of a hack attack”).

I’ve summarized from those articles the 5 steps that you’ll need to do to start using “Trusted Contacts”:

  1. Login into Facebook and go to the “Gear Wheel” drop down menu;
  2. Choose Account Settings;
  3. Go to “Security” tab and click on “Trusted Contacts”;
  4. Choose the 3 to 5 Facebook friends whom you want to choose as your “Trusted Contacts”; and
  5. Give each “trusted contact” a code.

How do you then use “Trusted Contacts”?  If you lose control of your Facebook account, you’ll have to enter all of the codes simultaneously to complete the recovery process and regain access to your account.

“Trusted Contacts” is different than the more frequently used processes for regaining account access.  In those instances, users usually have to remember the security Q’s and A’s for the account or, sometimes, have to send in a scanned copy of our driver’s license.

Facebook users should learn more about “Trusted Contacts” to decide if it’s a security tool they want to use.