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Application Security

3/21/2019
02:45 PM
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Facebook Employees for Years Could See Millions of User Passwords in Plain Text

2,000 Facebook engineers or developers reportedly made some nine million internal queries for data elements with plain text passwords.

An internal Facebook investigation has found between 200 million and 600 million of its users may have had their account passwords stored in plain text for years, meaning they could have been searched and accessed by more than 20,000 Facebook employees.

The issue was first reported by KrebsOnSecurity, which cites a senior Facebook employee familiar with the ongoing investigation saying archives have been found with unencrypted user passwords dating back to 2012. Investigators are still working to determine the total number of user passwords affected and length of time they were exposed.

Facebook reports the problem was detected in January during a routine security review, when it saw some passwords were being stored in readable format on internal data storage systems.

In a blog post, Pedro Canahuati, vice president of engineering, security and privacy at Facebook, says the company's login systems are designed to mask passwords using tactics that make them unreadable. He says the passwords were not visible to anyone outside Facebook and there is no evidence anyone within the company abused or improperly accessed passwords. Further, Facebook has fixed the issue and will notify people whose passwords were found unencrypted.

"We estimate that we will notify hundreds of millions of Facebook Lite users, tens of millions of other Facebook users, and tens of thousands of Instagram users," Canahuati says. Because there's no indication passwords were exposed, users won't be required to change them.

The anonymous source who spoke with KrebsOnSecurity says Facebook access logs indicate about 2,000 engineers or developers made some nine million internal queries for data elements with plain text passwords. While there's no sign of abuse, it's still unclear why they did this.

Read more details here.

 

 

 

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REISEN1955
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REISEN1955,
User Rank: Ninja
3/22/2019 | 7:46:47 AM
This is the cloud
FB as discussed is a perfect illustration of the danger of cloud apps.  I have long felt that the simple view of this platform is as a enormously huge long RJ-45 cable from your system-network over the internet to another server (data center) somewhere else in the world with someone else's hands on keyboard(s) doing god knows what with your data.  There is no pure 'cloud' per se - data has to be stored and running on a system somewhere.  (Corporations love it because they can shutter that expensive data center room and fire staff to make a new coffee lounge).   So I am not surprised that FB had access to private data.  Gee, imagine that.  And if they can see it in plain text, who ELSE can see or have access to such data.  Hmmmmmm

Second thought - kinda makes secure passwords seem silly, doesn't it!!!
RyanSepe
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RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
3/22/2019 | 10:18:34 AM
Re: This is the cloud
Very much agree with your parable. There is no reason the fact of FB having private data should be a surprise to anyone. "Secure Password" also feels like an oxymoron simply put, passwords are the least secure means of authenticating. (Outside of NOT having a password of course)
REISEN1955
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REISEN1955,
User Rank: Ninja
3/22/2019 | 10:25:44 AM
Re: This is the cloud - on secure passwords
One of my managers once thought of a unique password, particularly if someone may be shoulder watching your screen: ********    True.  Another user had just "guess: as a password and that drove me crazy fo 2 minutes when troubleshooting
KevinStanley
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KevinStanley,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/25/2019 | 12:56:06 PM
Re: This is the cloud
Absolutely. 
REISEN1955
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REISEN1955,
User Rank: Ninja
3/27/2019 | 9:57:56 AM
Re: This is the cloud
Just had to change my password for this forum and used the most memory-sound but complex one I could make up.  
CharlieDoesThings
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CharlieDoesThings,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/27/2019 | 4:00:03 PM
Re: This is the cloud
That's right. I bet the majority of social media use similar password storage solutions or at least have used until this thing with facebook blew up. Just to be on the safe side, always use different passwords everywhere.
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