Yesterday morning I relocated for a relatively long period of time from my usual residence in Romania to Munich for professional reasons. I was somewhat surprised to see the hotel imposing limits on Internet access; to keep it short, the free option is horribly slow and must be restarted every 30 minutes. While that is probably completely irrelevant for my blog readers, there are still interesting stuff to discover once you start logging in to your daily Internet routine. For instance, only days ago Facebook introduced a new security measure to verify that you are the actual owner of the account and I got a chance to experience it firsthand.
It goes like this: if you try to login from a new computer and another location - both of which were true in my case - Facebook starts a confirmation procedure to insure that you're not a hacker from a distant country. It begins with the usual Captcha, then moves on to a innovation: the social site asks you to identify seven of your Facebook friends in a small selection of their photos. Theoretically this sounds like one of the best ways to confirm your identity; I mean, how could a hacker know 7 random friends of a person he never met? The problem is the user himself could find it difficult to get all the answers right. I don't usually add people I haven't met in real life and so I have around 200 Facebook connections now; still I had trouble choosing the right answer and skipped one or two questions. If you are into networking and closing on the 5000 friends limit fast, you would probably get all the answers wrong or take forever to complete the test.
Another problem with this method is that it's only geared towards visual recognition, leaving visually impaired members with no options to validate a suspicious login, like a commenter on Inside Facebook observed. It's good that Facebook is taking security seriously, especially now when they have the identities of more than 500 Million people to protect, but I don't think this initiative is the best - or the most efficient way - to do it.