For 14 million victims, the attackers accessed a trove of user highly sensitive data, including gender, relationship status, religion, hometown, current city, birth date, devices used to log in, education, locations checked into, pages followed, recent searches, name, and contact details.
Facebook has revealed that millions of email addresses, phone numbers and other personal user information were compromised during a recent security breach. The social media giant has learnt in its investigation that hackers had unauthorised access to approximately 30 million Facebook accounts.
That breach allegedly related to a "view as" feature - described as a privacy tool to let users see how their profiles look to other people.
Facebook reset the 50 million accounts it thought could have been affected, meaning users will need to sign back in using passwords.
The company has set up a help center page that its 2 billion global users can use to check if their accounts have been accessed, and if so, exactly what information was stolen.
"In the coming days, we'll send customized messages to the 30 million people affected to explain what information the attackers might have accessed, as well as steps they can take to help protect themselves, including from suspicious emails, text messages, or calls", Rosen added separately, in a blog post. Once learning of the attack, Facebook said it had acted immediate to secure the site. The hackers used the access tokens from Sep.
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What may have motivated the attackers is still unclear; despite mounting concerns about election security as US officials count down to a highly contested midterm election, Facebook said there was no indication the hack was specifically related to the USA electoral process. They used an automated technique to move from account to account so they could steal the access tokens of those friends, and for friends of those friends, and so on, totalling about 400,000 people.
Facebook identified a spike in the activity of September 14, 2018, which led them to launch an internal investigation.
It says third-party apps and Facebook apps like WhatsApp and Instagram were unaffected by the breach. When it first reported the breach September 28, Facebook said the number of those affected was about 50 million. Resetting the tokens logged the affected Facebook users out of the service. The commission, which is the European Union's lead regulator for privacy matters, said in early October it would investigate the data breach to determine if Facebook violated the EU's General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, privacy laws.
Rosen also said Facebook is cooperating with other authorities including the Irish Data Protection Commission on the hack.
Facebook removes over 500 pages and 250 accounts accused of spreading false or misleading political information ahead of the midterm elections; Mega Millions $548 million jackpot is one of the largest on record.
If your account was hacked you will see a message similar to the one shown below which comes from a New York Times reporter's account which was compromised.