If you're worried about hackers gaining access to your Facebook account, you should be.

Any time you log in to an online account, your information could be at risk -- as criminals are constantly looking for any piece of information that could help give them access to what they're really after -- your money. 

The reality is, a strong password is no longer enough to prevent thieves from gaining access to your online accounts, which is why Facebook and so many other sites offer added security features like two-factor authentication -- which we strongly recommend you enable on every account that offers it.

But as users become more concerned about account security, Facebook is taking its protection offers a step further. 

Read more: Why you need two-factor authentication on every account

Facebook introduces new security key

In a statement released Thursday, Facebook announced it will now allow users to link a hardware token to their accounts as an added layer of security.

It's essentially a more secure version of two-factor authentication -- which allows you to add an extra security step to your accounts beyond just a password.

Here's how it works: you register the physical key to your account and enable login approvals, and then the next time you go to log in to Facebook, you'll tap a small hardware device that plugs into the USB drive of your computer. Since the device is physically synced with your computer, that tells Facebook that it's actually you logging in to your account.

new facebook security feature hardware token

According to Facebook, using a security key for two-factor authentication provides several benefits:

  • Phishing protection: Your login is practically immune to phishing because you don't have to enter a code yourself and the hardware provides cryptographic proof that it's in your machine.
     
  • Interoperable: Security keys that support U2F don't just work for Facebook accounts. You can use the same key for any supported online account (e.g. Google, Dropbox, GitHub, Salesforce), and those accounts can stay safe because the key doesn't retain any records of where it is used.
     
  • Fast login: If you use a security key with your desktop computer, logging in is as simple as a tap on the key after your enter your password.

Read more: Beware of new Gmail scam that's tricking people into handing over info to criminals

These security keys for Facebook only work with certain browsers and devices, so you will also have to set up another method of login approval -- either using SMS on your phone or the Code Generator feature. Security keys can be purchased through Yubico, Nitrokey and other companies that sell hardware tokens.

The good thing about these devices is that you can use them to protect your other online accounts that are compatible with the technology.

Learn more about using a security key on Facebook's help page.

If using a security key is not an option, here's why turning on two-factor authentication is your next best option for protecting your information!

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