Facebook tentatively concludes spammers were behind recent data breach

File Facebook said that cyber attackers had stolen data from 29 million Facebook accounts using an automated programme that moved from one friend to the next

While an ongoing investigation revealed that just 30 million accounts were affected by Facebook's most recent hack, concerns arose around foreign states and supposed political motives as the U.S. midterm elections rapidly approach.

Quoth the Journal: "Internal researchers now believe that the people behind the attack are a group of Facebook and Instagram spammers that present themselves as a digital marketing company, and whose activities were previously known to Facebook's security team, said the people familiar with the investigation".

"We're cooperating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is actively investigating and asked us not to discuss who may be behind this attack", the Facebook executive Guy Rosen wrote in a blog post.

The big data breach has resulted in leaving the platform users more vulnerable to targeted phishing attacks and could make the issue more questionable for the service whose privacy, security practices and moderation have been questioned by a number of scandals, financial analysts and cyber-security experts have said.

Facebook has declined to say who was behind the hack, which was the worst security breach in its history.

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It had also notified the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, Congressional aides and the Data Protection Commission in Ireland, where the company has European headquarters. For the other 15 million, hackers accessed name and contact details, according to Facebook. Facebook now believes that the actors who gained access to private information for 30 million accounts were scammers looking to make money through deceptive advertising, not foreign agents.

And for 1 million affected users, the hackers did not access any information.

After Facebook managed to shut down the backdoor and take steps to prevent further damage, it launched an investigation into finding the perpetrators and their motives.

Facebook acknowledged in September 2016 that it had inflated the viewing number for marketers, and said had it fixed its calculations. Instead, the company engaged in a public relations campaign to deflect attention to the errors, Crowd Siren said, citing internal company documents and email exchanges.

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