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Facebook breach: Hackers stole details of 29 million users

14 October 2018

The company said the breach is under investigation by the FBI, which asked Facebook "not to discuss who may be behind this attack".

Facebook now admits hackers in the security breach revealed two weeks ago stole a lot of sensitive information from millions of users.

For about 14 million people the hackers accessed information such as the last 10 places that person checked into, their current city and their 15 most-recent searches.

Facebook says third-party apps and Facebook apps like WhatsApp and Instagram are unaffected.

Rosen said they found no reason yet to believe hackers were in interested in people's information, rather that it appeared the mission was to harvest access tokens from friends associated with breached accounts.

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Mr Rosen said of the 29 million users hit, 15 million had their names and contact details gathered. The social media service plans to send messages to people whose accounts were hacked. Additionally, Rosen said, Facebook has also built a tool "to enable developers to manually identify any users of their apps who may have been exposed, so that they can conduct their own investigations".

According to the update, using accounts they already controlled, the attackers exploited the bug to steal tokens from approximately 400,000 users.

Facebook said it took a precautionary step of resetting "access tokens" for another 40 million accounts which had accessed the "view as" function. Some of that data-including phone numbers, email addresses, birth dates, searches, location check-ins, and the types of devices used to access the site-came from private accounts or was supposed to be restricted only to friends.

While you're doing this, you should also take the time to check your Facebook privacy settings, as I described how to do previously. For 14 million of them, hackers got even more data - basically anything viewable on your account that any of your friends could see, and more.

What may have motivated the attackers is still unclear; despite mounting concerns about election security as USA officials count down to a highly contested midterm election, Facebook said there was no indication the hack was specifically related to the US electoral process.

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As recounted by Rosen, the attackers took advantage of a vulnerability in Facebook's code that existed between July 2017 and September 2018.

After the accounts were compromised last month, more than 90 million users were forced to log out of their accounts as a security measure.

But while Facebook was able to lower the number of people affected, that's cold comfort for the remaining 30 million.

"Once you've become a target, it never ends", he said. The hackers had been active for 11 days before Facebook staff noticed something was wrong.

"Those personal details could be very easily be used for identity theft to sign up for credit cards, get a loan, get your banking password", he said.

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Facebook breach: Hackers stole details of 29 million users