Published: Sat, November 03, 2018
Technology | By Lionel Gonzales

Private Messages for 81k Hacked Facebook Accounts Being Sold Online

Private Messages for 81k Hacked Facebook Accounts Being Sold Online

Facebook has denied hackers gained access to its servers and instead blamed the breach on users who have installed malicious web browser extensions that can store private messages.

The perpetrators told the BBC Russian Service that they had details from a total of 120 million accounts, which they were attempting to sell, although there are reasons to be sceptical about that figure.

The big picture: The latest security breach involving Facebook may not be the company's fault.

FBSaler first marketed this database on an underground hacking forum called BlackHatWorld where the seller stated that "We sell personal information of Facebook users".

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The data trove has surfaced shortly after Facebook confirmed that 29 million users had their accounts accessed by hackers.

While this might sound reminiscent of the recent Facebook hack that compromised the personal data of some 30 million users that also happened last month, this attack is different than - and completely unrelated to - that previous attack. To steal the information, the well-known method of malicious desktop browser extension was used. Now, another report has surfaced online claiming that private messages of 81,000 users are being sold on the internet. Upon further investigation, BBC learned that the new data breach was not linked with the Cambridge Analytica scandal or the recent data breach in September.

It is believed that numerous user details came from Russian Federation and Ukraine-based Facebook users although some messages also originated from people in the United States, the UK and Brazil, the BBC notes. At least in one case, the data published included "intimate correspondence between two lovers", according to the report. "We have also contacted law enforcement and have worked with local authorities to remove the website that displayed information from Facebook accounts", Facebook executive Guy Rosen told the publication. This included a sample of data that the BBC had an expert examine, confirming that over 81,000 profiles' private messages were included. The leaked data has since been taken down from the site it had originally been published on.

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