Facebook Stored Hundreds of Millions of User Passwords in Plain, Searchable Text

Facebook Stored Hundreds of Millions of User Passwords in Plain, Searchable Text

So far, Krebs said on his blog Thursday, between 200 million and 600 million Facebook users likely had their account passwords logged in unencrypted text files.

On its blog, Facebook has explained in detail about what it is doing to protect your passwords which includes a variety of signals to detect suspicious activity, introducing a physical security key to your account, two-factor authentication and more.

"This caught our attention because our login systems are created to mask passwords using techniques that make them unreadable", Canahuati continued.

"There is nothing more important to us than protecting people's information", said Pedro Canahuati, vice president of engineering, security and privacy for Facebook - while presumably hiding a smirk.

The passwords were accessible to over 20,000 Facebook employees, according to Krebs, raising the obvious risk that they could be improperly accessed.

'We want to make sure we're reserving those steps and only force a password change in cases where there's definitely been signs of abuse'. But Facebook apparently did not become aware of the issue until January.

Thankfully, Facebook says there is no evidence this security breach was exploited by any nefarious individuals.

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Nonetheless, many would argue that Facebook hasn't exactly earned the benefit of the doubt with respect to security and user privacy. The source stated that Facebook will be trying to push its own estimates of these numbers as low as possible in later statements by intentionally choosing to only count against certain sources of data. It said "tens of millions" of other Facebook users, and "tens of thousands" of Instagram users were also affected. In other words, the stored password can be read by the website and not much else, which is how it should be.

Last month, British lawmakers likened Facebook to "digital gangsters" who shunned accountability as disinformation spread like wildfire on social media.

Keeping passwords hashed, or encrypted, is widely regarded as fundamental to cybersecurity.

The number of users whose password had been compromised range from almost 200 million to 600 million, said the report.

Facebook is not requiring users to change their passwords, but you should do it anyway.

Facebook has confirmed it left millions of user passwords readable by its employees for years, after a security researcher posted about the issue online.

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