Facebook offers "one-time passwords" for extra security

Posted by Mark Raby

If you're in the library or a school computer lab and you feel uneasy about using your real password to log into Facebook, the social networking site has a solution for you.

It works like this. Users send the text "otp" to the number 32665. They then receive a text message for the username associated with that phone, which contains a randomly generated password.

That becomes their Facebook password for the next 20 minutes, after which time it reverts back to their old password. The idea is meant to bring more privacy and security to the site that is now probably considered many users' most important online destination.

"We're launching one-time passwords to make it safer to use public computers in places like hotels, cafes or airports. If you have any concerns about security of the computer you're using while accessing Facebook, we can text you a one-time password to use instead of your regular password," wrote product manager Jake Brill in a Facebook blog.

Earlier this year, Facebook introduced a feature that allows users to remotely log out of Facebook. So if you leave the library and suddenly realize you forgot to log out, you can just use your phone to do the deed. Because Facebook constantly refreshes itself, the account will be cleared out even if no one is sitting at the computer.

Facebook one-time passwords are currently being rolled out to select users. It'll be available to everybody later this month.