Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Facebook: Latest hack exposed 20M fewer users than first thought

Hackers accessed data of 29 million Facebook users Facebook says attackers stole details from 29 million users
Priscilla Morrison | 13 October, 2018, 10:26

"We have not ruled out the possibility of smaller-scale attacks, which we're continuing to investigate", Facebook's head of product management, Guy Rosen, wrote in a blog post.

Facebook says it will directly contact the 30 million users affected by this breach "to explain what information the attackers might have accessed, as well as steps they can take to help protect themselves, including from suspicious emails, text messages, or calls".

"While we don't know if the attackers will use any of the information they accessed, it appears the information may allow them or other third parties to use it to create and spread spam on and off Facebook".

Facebook revealed Friday that it had determined the major security breach it discovered late last month impacted the accounts of 30 million users.

An additional 1 million accounts were affected, but hackers didn't get any information from them.

The attackers took profile details such as birth dates, employers, education history, religious preference, types of devices used, pages followed and recent searches and location check-ins from 14 million users. For one million users, their accounts were hacked but no data was stolen.

However, unlike other major hacks involving big companies, Facebook said it had no plans to provide protection services for concerned users.

The breach was the latest privacy embarrassment for Facebook, which earlier this year acknowledged that tens of millions of users had their personal data hijacked by Cambridge Analytica, a political firm working for Donald Trump in 2016.

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The company isn't giving a breakdown of where these users are, but says the breach was "fairly broad".

According to Facebook, the Federal Bureau of Investigation requested the company to not disclose who might be behind the attack.

Facebook believes only one million of the total compromised accounts had no personal information accessed whatsoever.

Access tokens are used to save users the effort of logging in every time they want to use Facebook. Within two days, we closed the vulnerability, stopped the attack, and secured people's accounts by resetting the access tokens for people who were potentially exposed.

If you were affected by the hack, you will be notified by a message at the top of your homepage screen.

Those tokens, which were stolen by taking advantage of three software bugs relating to the platform's View As profile feature, essentially allow an attacker to hijack the Facebook profiles of affected individuals.

Hackers evidently started the cyber-onslaught on September 14 with 400,000 "seed accounts" they had a hand in or were otherwise close to, according to Rosen.

Access tokens work as digital keys, letting those who hold them log into Facebook accounts without entering a password.

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