Facebook claims hackers hurt 50 million users
Facebook Inc. has detected an attack on its network by hackers who have accessed accounts of tens of millions of users. The revelation will bring more publicity to social media giants who must convince regulators and investors to protect their platform from abuse.
Facebook uncovered a security hole on Tuesday after an unusual increase in user activity earlier this month. Hackers exploited a number of vulnerabilities in Facebook’s code to control more than 50 million user accounts.
The company said it did not identify the identity or location of the attackers or that the hackers abused one of the accounts they accessed. The leaders said they had found no evidence that hackers posted content on users’ Facebook pages or read private messages from users, but pointed out that their investigation was still in its infancy. Facebook said the attack has more impact on its user base than users of a particular country.
“This is a very serious security issue and we take it very seriously,” said CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Friday to a conference call. “The reality is that we are constantly being attacked by people who want to take accounts and steal information (…) we have to do more to prevent them.”
The company said it has informed the FBI and the Irish DPAs responsible for enforcing the EU data protection laws that entered into force this year. As a precautionary measure, Facebook said it had unsubscribed 50 million users of its accounts, as well as 40 million additional users who had used the hacked features last year.
The infringement is a major setback for Facebook’s efforts to persuade lawmakers and regulators to protect their own platform and the security of their more than two billion users.
The social network faces several US federal investigations due to a series of privacy, data breach and political intrusion scandals.
US regulators and lawmakers are on strike for their latest scandal on Friday.
“I want answers,” wrote US Trade Commissioner Rohit Chopra on Twitter. The Irish Data Protection Commission issued a statement condemning the Silicon Valley company for failing to provide enough detail on the violation, urging “Facebook to resolve these issues urgently”.
Senator Mark Warner, the high-ranking Democrat of the US Senate Intelligence Committee, called for a thorough and transparent investigation into this vulnerability.
“This is another sobering indication that Congress needs to take action and take action to protect the privacy and security of social media users,” he tweeted. “As I said, the era of the Wild West in social media is over.”
Facebook said the error implied hackers who could exploit a bug in the code of a feature called “View As”. This allowed users to see how their profiles looked to other Facebook users, based on how they set their privacy preferences. Hackers have exploited the “View As” tool through other crashes on the platform, including a video download tool that Facebook has launched on its platform in July, and a feature that allows Facebook users to post multiple sessions. Pages can be connected Re-enter your passwords. The company warned that hackers may also be interested in third-party applications that allow their users to sign in through their Facebook account, including Facebook’s own Facebook account.
Facebook said it had fixed the bugs and temporarily disabled its outlook.
“This is a complex interplay of multiple errors that have occurred together,” said Guy Rosen, head of security at Facebook. The attack required a high technical level and had occurred on a large scale, he said.