It was two weeks ago that Facebook took another giant hit after the Cambridge Analytica fiasco. There was another security incident that exposed millions of data of Facebook users across the globe. This time it is a group of unknown hackers, whose identity is yet to be found out by Facebook and the FBI.
What really happened?
In a press statement and now on its newsroom post, Facebook declared that around 30 million users’ data was accessed, including personal details, by hackers. Hackers took advantage of a vulnerability present in Facebook’s code that existed between ‘July 2017 and September 2018’. Hackers stole ‘access tokens’ of user profiles and used them to get into user accounts and manipulate profile information for their own ends. Access tokens are something like digital keys to your house, or Facebook account that help you keep logged in to Facebook which, in turn, also prevents you from re-entering password every time you want to use Facebook app.
It was on September 14, 2018 that Facebook noticed an unusual spike in user activity which made them go into investigation. On September 25, Facebook identified the vulnerability and got to know that millions of user accounts have been hacked.
What data has been accessed by hackers?
Though Facebook thinks the data stolen has not yet been improperly used, it is still too early to discern how this data breach is going to impact people around the world. Hackers have stolen information like username, gender, local language, religion, relationship status, hometown, birthdate, device type, education, work and the last 10 places account users checked into, or were tagged in. Data about Pages that are followed, and recent searches were also accessed.
Facebook says its other apps including Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, Workplace, Messenger Kids, and Pages were not hacked. The social media company also believes hackers did not hack any personal messages of user accounts from Messenger.
Is your account hacked?
You can visit Facebook’s Help Center and find out if you are one of the victims of this data breach.
In the coming days Facebook is going to send out messages to 30 million user accounts whose data has been hacked by attackers. The message will have steps to follow to find out. But you can do that beforehand and find out by yourself through these steps:
- Visit Facebook’s help center.
- Scroll down the page and look for the heading “Is my Facebook account impacted by this security issue?”
- Here you will see a Yes or No answer. Those affected will see a warning like this –
- Also, Facebook has identified 3 categories for breached accounts. You can find out in which of the categories you fall.
- You are among the 15 million users whose name, email and phone number have been compromised in the breach
- In addition to your personal data above, there are also other informations hacked by attackers, including gender, local language, religion, relationship status, hometown, birthdate, device type, education, work and the last 10 places account users checked into.
- You are one of the fortunate individuals whose access point, though, was stolen but the account was never accessed or hacked by breaches.
What to do if your account is hacked?
- For people in Group B, since your bio information has been hacked, you might want to call your bank and cell phone provider and think about adding additional security layers or look out for ways to find if they have any solution to such problems. Hackers could use your information and pretend to be you and use your social media handles to manipulate your activity, spam your friends, answer security questions, and use your phone number to take hold of two-factor authentication prompts.
- Lookout for spam calls, emails or messages where you can be contacted by dubious businesses.
- Be on-guard about phishing emails that may try to make you sign-in to fake social media pages.
- Think about still using Facebook and putting your information up in their site.