Facebook confirms users profiles hacked, 50 million affected
Facebook has reported a major security breach in which 50 million user accounts were accessed by unknown attackers.
In a blog post, the company said hackers exploited a bug that affected its “View As” feature, which lets people see what their profiles look like to someone else.
That would let attackers steal “access tokens,” which are digital keys that Facebook uses to keep people logged in.
Possession of those tokens would allow attackers to “seize control” of user accounts, Facebook said.
Specifically, from the View As feature, a bug somehow allowed a video uploader to appear for sending “happy birthday” messages, Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of product management said.
Another bug then created an access token that made Facebook think the hacker had legitimately signed in with the account being viewed.
“We haven’t yet been able to determine if there was specific targeting,” Mr Rosen said in a call with reporters.
Facebook said it had taken steps to fix the security problem and alerted law enforcement.
To deal with the issue, Facebook reset some logins, so 90 million people have been logged out and will have to log in again.
That includes anyone who has been subject to a View As lookup in the past year.
In a call with reporters on Friday (local time), chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said the company does not know yet if any of the accounts that were hacked were misused.
Jake Williams, a security expert at Rendition Infosec, said the stolen access tokens would have likely allowed attackers to view private posts and probably to post status updates or shared posts as the compromised user, but would not affect passwords.
“The bigger concern (and something we don’t know yet) is whether third party applications were impacted,” Mr Williams said in a text exchange.
For those who are using Facebook, it would be a good idea to revise your account security right now to avoid any melodrama happening to you.