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Facebook Says Hackers May Have Accessed 50M Accounts in Security Breach
Facebook announced on Friday that hackers may have accessed about 50 million accounts in another security breach.
The company said in a blog post “it’s clear that attackers exploited a vulnerability in Facebook’s code that impacted “View As,” which is a feature on the platform that allows a user to see how their own profile looks to others on Facebook.
On the afternoon of Tuesday, September 25, our engineering team discovered a security issue affecting almost 50 million accounts. We’re taking this incredibly seriously and wanted to let everyone know what’s happened and the immediate action we’ve taken to protect people’s security.
Our investigation is still in its early stages. But it’s clear that attackers exploited a vulnerability in Facebook’s code that impacted “View As”, a feature that lets people see what their own profile looks like to someone else. This allowed them to steal Facebook access tokens which they could then use to take over people’s accounts. Access tokens are the equivalent of digital keys that keep people logged in to Facebook so they don’t need to re-enter their password every time they use the app.
Guy Rosen, VP of product management for Facebook, said in the blog post that the company has “fixed the vulnerability and informed law enforcement.” Rosen added that the company has also “reset the access tokens of the almost 50 million accounts we know were affected to protect their security” and “another 40 million accounts that have been subject to a “View As” look-up in the last year.”
Facebook is also temporarily turning off the “View As” feature while it conducts its investigation.
This attack exploited the complex interaction of multiple issues in our code. It stemmed from a change we made to our video uploading feature in July 2017, which impacted “View As.” The attackers not only needed to find this vulnerability and use it to get an access token, they then had to pivot from that account to others to steal more tokens.
Since we’ve only just started our investigation, we have yet to determine whether these accounts were misused or any information accessed. We also don’t know who’s behind these attacks or where they’re based. We’re working hard to better understand these details — and we will update this post when we have more information, or if the facts change. In addition, if we find more affected accounts, we will immediately reset their access tokens.
This latest hacking obviously comes at a terrible time for Facebook, which is still dealing with the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica data scandal that led to CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifying before Congress.