Up to five million European Union accounts hit in Facebook breach

02 October, 2018, 02:19 | Author: Sheri Evans
  • Facebook reveals security incident affecting 50 million users

According to Facebook, the hackers exploited three bugs in this feature, using its weaknesses to breach the privacy of accounts. According to the statement from CEO Mark Zuckerburg, the Facebook team identified the issue on Tuesday and got it fixed by Thursday night.

"This allowed them to steal Facebook access tokens which they could then use to take over people's accounts", said the company.

You may have noticed that when you log into your Facebook account once, a security key (access token) is generated, which helps the app to login to the user's account next time without a password.

If class-action status is granted, the two plaintiffs are requesting relief, but also punitive damages against Facebook, in the form of a fine, under the California Civil Code. "The vulnerability was on Facebook, but these access tokens enabled someone to use the account as if they were the account-holder themselves", Rosen said.

Facebook can not rule out the fact that attackers may have also accessed any Instagram account linked to an affected Facebook account through Facebook Login.

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Second, they have reset the access tokens of the nearly 50 million accounts we know were affected to protect their security. After the infamous Cambridge Analytica Scandal that affected over 80 million Facebook user accounts, the company has once again reported of a new breach that affects 90 million Facebook users. You'll then get a notification at the top of your news feed telling you what has happened.

If you were one among the affected accounts (or suspected accounts), Facebook has already logged you out.

However, several Business Insider reporters who were required to log back into their accounts told the media that they did not see any type of message upon reentry.

The issue arose when attackers exploited a vulnerability in the social network's code for "View As" - a feature that lets people see what their own profile looks like to someone else. Rosen also said Facebook was unable to determine the extent to which third-party apps could have been compromised.

The CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has testified before the Senate's Commerce and Judiciary committees earlier this year about the concern of the spread of misinformation on the platform during the presidential elections of 2016.

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This is also the first time Facebook admitted to an unauthorised breach by unknown attackers.

It remains unclear who was behind the attack, and whether specific persons were targeted.

On the conference call, Guy Rosen, VP of Product Management and the author of the aforementioned statement, said that the company is working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and said they update law enforcement "when we learn about these interactions". However, he did not comment on whether national security agencies were involved in the investigation.

"We don't know if any accounts were actually misused", Zuckerberg said. A security flaw ended up exposing the private information of 50 million users, leaving the organisation perplexed. The law that came into effect in May states that companies which don't sufficiently protect user data can face maximum fines of €20 million ($23 million), or 4% of the company's global annual revenue from the prior year, depending on which sum is larger. Ireland's Data Protection Commission said Facebook notified it of the breach within that time frame, though the report "lacked detail", the Journal added.

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