Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
Facebook owned photo-messaging app Instagram already supports the "Unsend" capability VOA

The security breach Facebook announced Friday that affected 50 million users was a setback for the social media giant, which has been working for months to regain customers’ trust over how it handles their data.

In addition to the 50 million users whose log-on information could have been accessed by hackers, the company required as a precaution another 40 million to log on to be able to get on their accounts. Facebook said it reported the breach of the company’s code, which the firm said it fixed, to law enforcement.


The social media company was not sure Friday whether any personal information had been gathered or misused, but it scrambled to address the issue, which was discovered earlier in the week. Facebook users may find they have to relink their Facebook accounts to their Instagram accounts, and possibly to third-party apps, which users often log on to with their Facebook accounts.

In a call Friday with reporters, Guy Rosen, Facebook vice president of product management, said that the breach appeared to be very broad with no specific country targeted. “We’ll update with what we learn,” he said.


Facebook, Twitter to Face US Lawmakers Over Politics, Internet Pixabay

Focus on elections

The breach came just weeks before the U.S. midterm elections, something the company has been keenly focused on.

More than 300 Facebook workers are scouring the platform, looking for false news, fake accounts and disinformation campaigns by foreign state-sponsored operatives that may be trying to sway voters. Facebook executives have said that they did not do enough to address these issues in the run-up to other elections such as the 2016 U.S. presidential race and that they are working to fix them.

In addition, Facebook’s relationship with its 2 billion users took a hit last spring when it was disclosed that an outside researcher who was given access to Facebook data used the information for political campaigns. As a result, the company contacted users whose information might have been seen or used by the outside firm Cambridge Analytica.

“We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t, then we don’t deserve to serve you,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement posted to his Facebook page in March.


A Facebook start page is shown on a smartphone in Surfside, Florida. VOA

‘View As’ tool

The company said hackers exploited the privacy feature known as “View As,” which lets users see how their own profiles would look to other people. Facebook said hackers were then able to use the security flaw to steal log-in keys, called access tokens, that could allow them to access people’s accounts.

“We’re a big fan of ‘View As’ here at EFF,” said Gennie Gebhart, associate director of research at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the digital civil liberties group. “It’s one good way to make sure that your privacy settings are the way you want them to be. I can see what my friends see or friends of friends see.”

But by checking what a friend can see, the “View As” tool actually made one’s friend vulnerable to this hack.

A relatively new feature that allowed users to upload “Happy Birthday” videos was part of a combination of three bugs that contributed to the vulnerability, the social media firm said.


This Feb. 19, 2014, photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

“It’s one of those weird things that daisy-chained together,” Gebhart added.

Facebook said it was shutting down “View As” until further notice.

The hackers “used the access tokens to query data, but there are no public reports of abusing the access to post updates to timelines or spread disinformation,” said Travis Smith, principal security researcher at Tripwire, a security firm. “This could be because they were only after data or it could be that their attack was cut off midstream by Facebook before they could reach their ultimate goal.”

Security advice

Affected Facebook users should take some additional steps, said Gary Davis, the chief consumer security evangelist at security firm McAfee, who wrote about the Facebook hack in a blog post.

Among them, users should change their log-in information. “Since this flaw logged users out, it’s vital you change up your log-in information,” he wrote.

Also Read: Facebook Admits Using Contact Numbers for Targeted Ads

He also stressed users should update their Facebook apps as soon as possible.

“Facebook has already issued a fix to this vulnerability, so make sure you update immediately,” he wrote. (VOA)


Popular

Unsplash

The Microsoft office

Microsoft has disrupted the activities of a China-based hacking group, gaining control of the malicious websites the group used to attack organisations in the US and 28 other countries around the world.

The Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) said in a statement that a federal court in Virginia granted its request to seize websites of the hacking group called 'Nickel', enabling the company to cut off Nickel's access to its victims and prevent the websites from being used to execute attacks.

Keep Reading Show less
Unsplash

MediaTek's plans to boost technology democratisation and enable access to disruptive connectivity

Chip manufacturer MediaTek on Monday announced that it is focused on making 2022 a year aimed at rapid growth, business success, substantial expansion in Research and Development capabilities.

MediaTek's plans to boost technology democratisation and enable access to disruptive connectivity with its range of mainstream to flagship 5G chips.

"We at MediaTek are focused on making 2022 a year aimed at rapid growth, business success, and substantial expansion in our R&D capabilities. For 2022, we are focused on further strengthening our presence in India, offering incredible experiences to customers, and supporting the country's technology initiatives with our expertise and collaboration with leading OEMs," Anku Jain, Managing Director, MediaTek India said in a statement.

Follow NewsGram on LinkedIn to know what's happening around the world.

In the flagship segment, MediaTek recently announced the Dimensity 9000 chip, which is a milestone of innovation and a rise to the incredible, built-to-power flagship 5G smartphones in the world, the company claims.

MediaTek Dimensity 9000 features a single Cortex-X2 performance core clocked at 3.05GHz, three Cortex-A710 cores at 2.85GHz and four Cortex-A510 efficiency cores at 1.8GHz.

It packs a 10-core Arm Mali-G710 that takes care of graphics processing, the report said.

Keep Reading Show less
Unsplash

There have already been voices in the US demanding most of the "China concept stocks" be removed from the US.

If the US loses Chinese companies, Wall Street will gradually alienate itself from the world's most prosperous market and the US will no longer be the true global financial centre, Chinese state media claimed.

Didi Chuxing, the Chinese ride-hailing giant, announced on Friday that the company is starting the work of delisting from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and initiating preparations for listing in Hong Kong.

Keep reading... Show less