Facebook hack victims will not get ID theft protection

Facebook hack victims will not get ID theft protection

For about half of those whose accounts were broken into - some 14 million people - the hackers looted extensive personal information such as the last 10 places that Facebook user checked into, their current city and their 15 most recent searches. The attackers didn't take any information from about 1 million people whose accounts were vulnerable.

Now, Facebook has released an update on the breach investigation revealing the true number of users affected by the hack. While Russian agents had used Facebook and other social media to incite conflict before the 2016 election, domestic sources of false or misleading posts have jumped into the fray, the company said.

"We have now determined that attackers used access tokens to gain unauthorised access to account information from approximately 30 million Facebook accounts", the company said in a statement.

In a press call, Guy Rosen, Facebook's VP of Product Management, said the attackers "moved from account to account using an automated script collecting tokens, repeatedly exploiting the vulnerability using access tokens for about 400,000 people". The feature lets the user see how their profile looks to other people on Facebook.

Facebook is already sending customised messages to the 30 million affected users to explain what has happened. As it turns out, the data of almost 30 million users has been stolen in the breach, a Facebook investigation has now confirmed.

"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", Rosen said. "The stolen data is likely to be used by the hackers, so this problem is likely to persist for quite some time".

The company said that it may still not know the full extent of the attack and wasn't ruling out the possibility of other "smaller-scale attacks" linked to the breach.

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So they accessed 400,000 accounts using the vulnerability in the View As feature. From there, the hackers leveraged the lists of Facebook friends of originally compromised users to steal their access tokens. The attack began on September 14, but Facebook only realized it was a threat by September 25.

Facebook said engineers discovered a breach on September 25 and had it patched two days later.

Facebook has also established a Web page at facebook.com/help/securitynotice?ref=sec that will inform its 2 billion users who are logged in whether their accounts were affected.

At the time, Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg - whose own account was compromised - said attackers would have had the ability to view private messages or post on someone's account, but there's no sign that they did.

Ultimately, the hack metastasized across the network, accessing about 30 million total profiles. When it first reported the breach September 28, Facebook said the number of those affected was about 50 million.

Rosen said that other Facebook services like Instagram, Oculus, WhatsApp, or Workplace were not impacted via the attack, nor were third-party apps that allow people use their Facebook accounts to log in.

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