Published: Sat, October 13, 2018
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Facebook says hackers accessed 29 million people's accounts

Facebook says hackers accessed 29 million people's accounts

Facebook says the FBI is investigating a major security breach of its service, but the company says authorities asked it not to discuss who may be behind the attack.

The attackers who carried out the mass hack that Facebook disclosed two weeks ago obtained user account data belonging to as many as 30 million users, the social network said on Friday.

Then, "for 15 million people, attackers accessed two sets of information - name and contact details (phone number, email, or both, depending on what people had on their profiles)".

Facebook today revealed more information about the September data breach that potentially affected up to 50 million users.

Facebook says the attack didn't impact Messenger, Messenger Kids, Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, Workplace, Pages, payments, third-party apps, or advertising or developer accounts.

Facebook logged everyone out of all 90 million accounts in order to reset digital keys the hackers had stolen - keys which are normally used to keep users logged in, could have also outsiders full control of the compromised accounts. The Facebook hack eventually exposed the names and contact information for 15 million users.

Facebook said it was continuing to investigate whether the attackers took actions beyond stealing data, such as posting from accounts but had not found additional misuse. This will delete everything you've ever put on Facebook - profile information, photos, status updates, timeline posts - but won't include messages sent via Facebook Messenger.

Facebook isn't giving a breakdown of where these users are, but says the breach was "fairly broad".

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For those 400,000, the attackers could see what the users see as they look at their own profiles. It also confirmed the Federal Bureau of Investigation is involved - but has told it "not to discuss who may be behind this attack".

The hackers also accessed almost everything 14 million users had on their profiles. At the time, Facebook invalidated the access tokens for nearly 90 million accounts as a precaution, and notified users that were logged out why that had happened.

If you have a Facebook account, now would be a good time to check on it. The company had initially said 50 million accounts were affected.

A smaller slice of people were more heavily affected.

This is very bad for Facebook.

An issue first came to Facebook's attention on 14 September, with the company identifying it as an attack on 25 September.

"For 1 million people, the attackers did not access any information", Rosen said.

Rosen said the FBI investigation also limited what he could disclose about what the hackers' end-goal may have been, but maintained that Facebook had "no reason to believe this attack was related to the mid-term elections" in the U.S.

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