Friday, 16 November, 2018

Facebook States 30 Million People Affected by Last Month's "View As" Bug

Hackers accessed data of 29 million Facebook users Facebook says attackers stole details from 29 million users
Orlando Vargas | 13 October, 2018, 12:27

The attackers who carried out the mass hack that Facebook disclosed two weeks ago obtained user account data belonging to as many as 30 million users, the social network said on Friday. Last month, when it first disclosed the breach, Facebook said 50 million accounts could have been affected, but the company didn't know if they had been misused.

An additional 14 million users were affected more deeply, having additional details taken related to their profiles, such as their recent search history, gender, educational background, geolocation data, birth dates, and lists of people and pages they follow.

File photo from May 1, 2018 pf Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaking during the annual F8 summit at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, Calif. The company had initially said 50 million accounts were affected. Such tokens are what allow users to interact with Facebook without logging in ever time they send or receive data from the site.

Facebook said it took a precautionary step of resetting "access tokens" for another 40 million accounts which had accessed the "view as" function.

Facebook first realized it was under attack after noticing a spike in activity on September 25.

Attackers did not access any information for the remaining one million users.

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The vulnerability had existed in Facebook's code since July of 2017, and resulted in "an unusual spike of activity" September 14 of this year.

While Facebook developer accounts and Oculus profiles were not affected in the breach, the extent of the attack itself makes it something developers that use Facebook both for personal and professional reasons should be aware of.

The Federal Trade Commission - which Facebook said it is cooperating with - didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Then, they "used an automated technique to move from account to account so they could steal the access tokens of those friends", and then friends of those friends.

However, there is some good news: Facebook found no theft of highly personal messages or financial data, and saw no use of Facebook logins to access other websites, all of which would have been cause for greater concern. 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.

Facebook says it's going to start alerting everyone whose accounts were compromised "in the coming days", but you can find out right now.

Facebook Vice President Guy Rosen said in a Friday call with reporters that the company hasn't ruled out the possibility that other parties might have launched other, smaller scale efforts to exploit the same vulnerability before it was disabled.

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