Facebook Facing $1.63 Billion EU Fine Over Recent Hack

Alicia Cross
October 2, 2018

If you suddenly had to log back into your Facebook account on Friday you may have been one of almost 50 million people who were impacted by a hack that may have accessed other social media accounts connected to the account. Unidentified hackers manipulated the code of the social network and logged into several users account. Facebook is also taking the precautionary step of resetting access tokens for another 40 million accounts that have been subject to a "View As" look-up in the previous year.

MPs have demanded that Mark Zuckerberg travels to the United Kingdom to face questions about his "terrible disrespect" for the data of citizens, following last week's data breach at Facebook that resulted in 50 million user accounts being exposed to hackers.

A Facebook hack which left the accounts of more than 50 million users compromised may have also affected third-party apps such as Tinder, Spotify and Instagram, if people used their Facebook account to register for the services.

In 2015 Facebook makes changes to its privacy policy and prevents third-party apps from accessing the data of users' friends without their consent. But the benefit comes at a cost, all these platforms will share the same access credentials. "As a result, around 90 million people will now have to log back in to Facebook, or any of their apps that use Facebook Login", said Facebook.

Rosen would not confirm whether the breach was state-backed, but added the hackers "did need a certain level in order for attacker not only get access but to pivot on the access tokens". Does this mean my password has been compromised?

According to Facebook, more than 120 million users had seen such content. Were they looking for private data, or were they trying to impersonate real users and post misleading information?

Importantly, if you log into other services with Facebook, this access token would treat you as being logged into those services too.

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"Because this issue impacted access tokens, it's worth highlighting that these are the equivalent of a username and password combination but are used by applications to authenticate against other applications", said Tim Mackey, senior technical evangelist at Synopsys. Whenever you try to login, you have to enter a code which is sent to your number or email.

The hack allowed attackers to convince these websites that they were already logged in - sneaking onto your account under the radar.

European regulators are yet to use the GDPR law to hand out a fine, so it remains to be seen whether Facebook will be the first to receive such a punishment.

This means it's possible that hackers are now sitting on photos, videos, and private messages for tens of millions of people around the world.

The news comes just days after a hacker said he was going to delete Zuckerberg's Facebook page on Sunday.

"The access token enables someone to use the account as if they were the account holder themselves. I think this underscores the attacks that our community and our services face", Mr Zuckerberg said.

"Today, consumers are reminded again to watch their identities and credit for abuse".

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