Facebook Says Millions Of Names, Search History, Location Data Stolen

Facebook

Even within the scope of the social media platform itself, only personal user profiles were compromised, whereas Pages, third-party apps, developer and advertising accounts, and payment services were unaffected.

Today, Facebook said hackers accessed names, email addresses or phone numbers from these accounts.

The Facebook disclosure is part of a larger security breach of 50 million accounts it unveiled about two weeks ago.

Hackers stole neither personal messages nor financial data and did not use their access to accounts users' accounts on other websites, the company said.

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. It also did not impact users on other Facebook properties such as Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, or Oculus.

Those flaws were compounded by a bug in Facebook's video-uploading program for birthday celebrations, a software feature that was introduced in July 2017. But beyond learning what information the attackers accessed, there's relatively little that users can do - beyond, that is, watching out for suspicious emails or texts.

So how did the attackers gain access to data from so many Facebook accounts?

To find out if your account has been affected, Facebook has provided this link. Those users will need to log back in to Facebook. The feature lets the user see how their profile looks to other people on Facebook. "Usually when you're looking at a sophisticated government operation, then a couple of thousand people hacked is a lot, but they usually know who they're going after".

The social media company said the Federal Bureau of Investigation asked them not to publicly reveal the source of the attack, but it has published a link allowing users to see if they are affected.

According to Rosen, a tool in Facebook's help centre will now show users if they were affected and what information may have been exposed.

Facebook says it has gotten a handle on a security breach affecting almost 30 million accounts, but it hasn't ruled out the possibility of smaller-scale efforts to exploit the same vulnerability.

As the matter is still under investigation, Facebook vice president Guy Rosen told reporters that the FBI had asked them to limit descriptions of the attackers.

Facebook said users who were affected would get a message in the coming days with information on what they can do to best protect themselves and their privacy. Facebook is also already working with the FTC and the Irish Data Protection Commission, both of which are investigating the matter independently.

Facebook said it is working with the FBI to investigate the biggest hack in its history.

Last Friday Facebook said that it had temporarily reset access tokens of nearly 50 million accounts and as a precaution, was resetting access tokens for another 40 million accounts.

Facebook said the FBI is investigating, but asked the company not to discuss who may be behind the attack.

"The attackers started with a set of accounts they controlled directly, then moved to their friends, and their friend's friends, and so on - each time taking advantage of the vulnerability", he added.

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