Facebook's Data Breach Affects More Than 50 Million People

Facebook just can't get right.​

By:
Stefon Walters

|

Mon Oct 01 2018 16:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

In this past week's "what the hell is going on at Facebook" news, the social media giant announced they had a security breach that affected more than 50 million users. If it ain't one thing with Facebook, it's another.

Facebook says they don't know who's responsible for the hack -- and they may never know -- but whoever it was had access to personal data of the affected users. There were no signs of the accounts being used improperly at the time of Facebook's announcement, but this may change as they investigate the issue.

Here's how the hack happened:

When you log into a site/app, your username and password are exchanged for an access token. This access token is what keeps you logged in and prevents you from having to re-enter your info every time you visit the site/app. The breach gave hackers access to user's access tokens and would have allowed them to take over accounts and impersonate the users, according to The Wall Street Journal. Don't worry, though, access tokens don't store passwords. 

 

The vulnerability was found in Facebook's 'view as' feature, which let's you view how your profile looks to everyone else. Facebook says the vulnerability had been on the site since July 2017 but they weren't aware of it until mid-September 2018. They aren't sure when the attack began, however.

What's next?

Facebook reset the access tokens of 90 million users -- 50 million from accounts known to be affected and 40 million reset just as a precaution.

As you can imagine, people aren't taking this breach too lightly and Facebook will definitely have to answer some tough questions, and likely pay some huge fines. The European Union is considering fining Facebook over $1.6 billion if they are found to not have been following proper privacy protocols. Ouch.

This isn't a good look for the social media company already facing backlash from the public over privacy issues. Zuck and the Gang need to tighten up.

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