Facebook's worst-ever security breach hammers user trust

01 October, 2018, 23:30 | Author: Mary Valdez
  • Figurines are seen in front of the Facebook logo in this illustration

When you log into websites like Facebook, you are given an access token.

With those tokens, hackers could not only access users' Facebook accounts but also theoretically any other related app they've used Facebook to log-in via. In total, 90 million user accounts are at risk.

In a blog post, Facebook stated that a vulnerability in the site's "View As" feature, which lets users see what their profile looks like from someone else's view, allowed an attacker to steal access tokens, a kind of security key that allows users to stay logged into Facebook over multiple browsing sessions without entering their password every time. That access let the intruder act like users on their profiles, or on any applications where they signed in using Facebook.

"This case involves the continuing and absolute disregard with which Defendant Facebook, has chosen to treat the PII of account holders who utilize Facebook's social media platform", the lawsuit reads.

Facebook said it is also still trying to establish the location and identity of the attackers and will reset the access tokens of any other accounts it believes may have been affected.

Hours after Facebook revealed the breach on Friday, some YouTube videos, which were seen several thousand times, described a method similar to the one used by the hackers to get access to the millions of Facebook accounts, The Telegraph reported on Saturday. So I guess there is no need to freak out, Facebook has got everything under its control now.

Around 50 million Facebook account has already been affected and almost 40 million are at risk.

Its hard to find someone who doesn't have a Facebook account.

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It's not clear whether this has actually occurred - when asked, a Facebook exec said only that the company was early in its investigation - but the possibility may force the other companies to undertake their own investigations into the issue.

Facebook also admitted this week that it uses phone numbers provided for security purposes to target individuals with ads as well as shadow contact information - data not directly provided by the user but obtained from their "friends" list.

Ireland's Data Protection Commission, which is Facebook's lead privacy regulator in Europe, said Saturday that it has demanded more information from the company about the nature and scale of the breach, including which European Union residents might be affected. This will require those users to log back in to Facebook.

That's why when you close the Facebook tab and open it up again later, you're still logged in.

Facebook replied, saying it is "co-operating fully" and will share more information "as soon as we have it".

What can you do to protect your Facebook account?

This can include usernames, passwords, email addresses and any personal details associated with your account including name, address and phone numbers. But it wasn't until mid-September that Facebook noticed an uptick in unusual activity, and not until this week that it learned of the attack, Rosen said.

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