Facebook Security Breach Hits 50 Million Accounts And Might Affect Instagram Too

01 October, 2018, 23:28 | Author: Gerard Cortez
  • Facebook reveals security incident affecting 50 million users

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was among the 50 million affected users.

The social network's lead supervisory authority in the region, the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC), tweeted an update on Sunday that it is "awaiting from Facebook further urgent details of the security breach impacting some 50m users, including details of European Union users which have been affected, so that we can properly assess the nature of the breach and risk to users".

In April, Zuckerberg appeared at a congressional hearing focused on Facebook's privacy practices.

Facebook has not said whether the attackers attempted to extract data from the affected profiles, but vice president of product management Guy Rosen told reporters they had attempted to harvest private information from Facebook's systems, according to the New York Times.

A Facebook hack which left the accounts of more than 50 million users compromised may have also affected third-party apps such as Tinder, Spotify and Instagram, if people used their Facebook account to register for the services.

A Google spokesperson was quoted as saying that the company carries out a careful review of flagged content, and will remove videos that encourage illegal activities of the hacking of accounts or sites with "malicious intentions".

So what happened? In short, the attackers found a way to trick Facebook into issuing them "access tokens" - basically, digital keys - that let them access other users' accounts as if they were that user. The attackers hijacked these access tokens, which helped them log into any of the millions of Facebook accounts. You can also try deactivating your account for some time, as reactivating it will also grant new access tokens, while old tokens will automatically expire.

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It has since been resolved but bosses have admitted they weren't sure if user details are safe.

It is not a surprise that Facebook was hit with a class-action lawsuit after announcing its security breach on Friday.

If you were pushed to login again, that means your account was compromised. In plain words, apart from the one security token that Facebook generates for you, there is an extra key apart generated by the hackers that can be used to control your Facebook account.

Do you work at Facebook?

The hackers were also given complete access (as if they were you, effectively), and so could have accessed any part of your accounts. It would be disingenuous to pretend that the concerns driving the backlash against Facebook are totally bipartisan, but the network has tread well into unsafe territory - and if it turns out attackers gained access to and misused sensitive user data, it could get much worse, quickly.

The best way to secure your account is to enable the two-factor authentication system. It does not matter even if you have a two-factor authentication where you have to enter the OTP sent to your mobile to login to Facebook.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

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