Facebook says 14m accounts had personal data stolen in recent breach
Facebook says 14m accounts had personal data stolen in recent breach
Image Facebook says lists of users' friends were trawled
13 October, 2018, 12:27
"We face constant attacks from people who want to take over accounts or steal information around the world", chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said on his own Facebook page when the breach was disclosed.
Facebook says hackers accessed data from 29 million accounts as part of the security breach disclosed two weeks ago. Of that number, 15 million users had their name and contact info (phone number and/or email) compromised while another 14 million lost that and their gender, Facebook username, location, language, relationship status, hometown, religion, current area of residence, birthdate, devices used to access Facebook, work, education, and more. The attackers then used some of those 400,000 accounts to steal the access tokens from a total of 30 million users.
Users can check whether they were affected, and what information was accessed, by visiting Facebook's help center. The company had initially said 50 million accounts were affected.
If you have a Facebook account, now would be a good time to check on it. The social media service plans to send messages to people whose accounts were hacked.
This action triggered a massive traffic spike, which Facebook engineers detected on September 16, and following investigations into the source of the traffic concluded it was a coordinated attack on September 26, patched the View As vulnerability on September 27, and went public with the breach on September 28.
On Friday, the company revealed 14 million users had highly personal information stolen by hackers.
The attackers, he said, began the attack by obtaining the access tokens of 400,000 seed accounts. "Message content was not available to the attackers", unless you are the Admin of a page that had its access token stolen.
Hackers had no information to data from Messenger, Messenger Kids, Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, Workplace, Pages, payments, third-party apps, or advertising or developer accounts, according to Rosen. Software bugs impacted the "View As" feature in Facebook, which allowed for hackers to access the secure tokens for Facebook accounts, which allows those individuals to take over Facebook accounts as they see fit and access the data therein.
"We don't have a specific indication as to the intention of the hackers", said Guy Rosen, Facebook's vice president of product management.
Affected users will be notified on Facebook in the coming days, where they will be given details of the information accessed as well as advice on how to protect against any further attempts to exploit the breach.
"The update from Facebook today is significant now that Facebook has confirmed that the personal data of millions of users was taken by the perpetrators of the attack", said Ireland's Data Protection Commission - the watchdog agency charged with monitoring compliance with the European Union's new data privacy law.
Facebook did not rule out the possibility of smaller-scale attacks and said it would continue to investigate.
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