A massive Facebook data breach has compromised nearly 50 million accounts according to the company. Nearly 100 million users were forcibly logged out of their accounts as Facebook scrambled to fix the issue. Here’s what you need to know.
Facebook admitted to another massive security breach overnight which may have impacted up to 50 million users. This time the breach involves an exploit in Facebook’s ‘View All’ function which allowed the attackers to steal access tokens that keep the user logged into Facebook after rebooting their device. This essentially gave them unrestricted access to compromised accounts.
“This attack exploited the complex interaction of multiple issues in our code,” Facebook said in a statement. “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.”
If Facebook can be believed, the breach has now been fixed, with some 90 million users temporarily booted out of their accounts as a security precaution. The source of the attacks is currently unknown. Facebook also hasn’t divulged how many active Facebook accounts were taken over (if any).
For the time bring, affected users will not have to change their passwords says Facebook. With that said, this might be a good excuse to update all your security settings and check the devices logged into your account – if any look unfamiliar, give them the boot. Either that, or use it as an impetus to quit Facebook entirely.
We’ll have more on this story as it develops but rest assured this is going to have very big remifications for Facebook and its CEO.
Here’s the full announcement from Facebook’s official blog post:
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.
Here is the action we have already taken. First, we’ve fixed the vulnerability and informed law enforcement.
Second, we have reset the access tokens of the almost 50 million accounts we know were affected to protect their security. We’re 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 last year. 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. After they have logged back in, people will get a notification at the top of their News Feed explaining what happened.
Third, we’re temporarily turning off the “View As” feature while we conduct a thorough security review.
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.
People’s privacy and security is incredibly important, and we’re sorry this happened. It’s why we’ve taken immediate action to secure these accounts and let users know what happened. There’s no need for anyone to change their passwords. But people who are having trouble logging back into Facebook — for example because they’ve forgotten their password — should visit our Help Center. And if anyone wants to take the precautionary action of logging out of Facebook, they should visit the “Security and Login” section in settings. It lists the places people are logged into Facebook with a one-click option to log out of them all.
[Via Facebook Blog]