Facebook's ongoing investigation whittles compromised accounts down to 30 million

Facebook finally comes clean on the recent hack

Facebook came under severe scrutiny in March after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which affected 87 million users. "If we find more Facebook accounts were impacted, we will reset their access tokens and notify those accounts".

"On September 25, we determined this was actually an attack and identified the vulnerability", the company said. And specifically, 14 million out of them, hackers managed to acquire even more data, such as hometown, the last 10 places they checked into, birthdate and the 15 most recent searches.

Officials said third-party apps that use a Facebook login and Facebook apps like WhatsApp and Instagram were unaffected by the breach.

Facebook had announced that a security bug that was active from July 2017 in the "View As" option led to surge in unusual activities, making the company suspect it as a data breach on Sep 14.

The Korea Communications Commission said Sunday, "Facebook informed us of the damage done to Korean users". The company has closed the vulnerability, stopped the attack, and secured the accounts by resetting the access tokens for those who were potentially exposed. The attackers used an automated technique to move from one Facebook account to another by stealing access tokens of friends of those they have access and so on to a total of 400,000 users.

Facebook says the hackers breached security through its access tokens, which subscribers can also to sign in to other websites with the "sign in with Facebook" option. To do this, they exploited the "View As." tool, a function that allows users to view their own profile from the point of view of other people.

Notably, Facebook mentioned that soon all the affected users will be personally informed about the kind of data that might have been stolen.

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The company said it would message affected users over the coming days to tell them what type of information had been accessed in the attack.

In all, the hackers stole "access tokens", a sort of digital set of keys, of 30 million people, Facebook said in its latest update.

According to the report, the attackers already controlled a set of accounts, which were connected to Facebook friends.

Patrick Moorhead, founder of Moor Insights & Strategy, said the breach appeared similar to identity theft breaches that have occurred at companies including Yahoo and Target in 2013.

Facebook's lead European Union data regulator, the Irish data protection commissioner, last week opened an investigation into the breach.

"This doesn't sound very targeted at all", he said.

Facebook's vice president of prodcut management Guy Rosen revealed more details about the hack in a blog post today. "Usually when you're looking at a sophisticated government operation, then a couple of thousand people hacked is a lot, but they usually know who they're going after".

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