How to check what Facebook hackers accessed in your account

Alfred Osborne
October 18, 2018

Facebook came under severe scrutiny in March after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which affected 87 million users.

By doing this, they obtained access tokens for around 400,000 users.

Guy Rosen, Facebook's vice president of product management, said on a conference call with reporters that the FBI was investigating the attack and had asked the company not to share certain information, such as possible suspects, that might compromise the investigation. Another 14 million had their names and contact information accessed as well as other personal details including user name, gender, locale/language, relationship status, religion, hometown, birthday, current city, device types, education, work, last places they checked into via the app and more.

Facebook announced that the recent data breach it has suffered is a little less massive than initially thought: "only" 30 million users have been affected.

So far, there's no sign that the attackers accessed third-party apps, Messenger, Messenger Kids, Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, Workplace, Pages, payments, or advertising/developer accounts.

Finally, after reporting a recent hack where "up to 50 million accounts may have been exposed" more than two weeks ago, Facebook have spoken publicly confirming around 30 million accounts have been breached with unauthorised access.

The loophole was being exploited between 14 September and 25 September - at which point Facebook noticed, and closed the loophole within 48 hours, resetting the tokens in the process.

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He said the attack affected a "broad" spectrum of users, but declined to break down the number affected by country.

Through this vulnerability, attackers were able to steal Facebook access tokens.

Visit the Facebook help center's website here. But three errors in Facebook's software enabled someone accessing "view as" to post and browse from the Facebook account of the other user. A spokesperson for the Irish data regulator said of Friday's announcement, "The update from Facebook today is significant now that Facebook has confirmed that the personal data of millions of users was taken by the perpetrators of the attack".

"It allowed attackers to steal Facebook access tokens, which they could then use to take over people's accounts".

Facebook's own investigation is continuing and the company is working with other authorities, including those in Ireland where Facebook has its European headquarters, Rosen said.

"This doesn't sound very targeted at all", he said. The company said that there is also a possibility of smaller-scale attacks that used the same kind of vulnerability. "Usually when you're looking at a sophisticated government operation, then a couple of thousand people hacked is a lot, but they usually know who they're going after".

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