Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Cloud

10/12/2018
04:35 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Facebook Update: 30 Million Users Actually Hit in its Recent Breach

The good news: That number is less than the original estimate of 50 million. The bad news: It might not have been the only attack.

Facebook today confirmed the actual number of users hit in its recent data breach is 30 million rather than its original estimate of 50 million. 

The social media giant also is investigating other possible "smaller-scale attacks" leveraging the vulnerability in its code that was exploited in the breach, which it first reported late last month. The attackers already had control of a set of user accounts that were then connected to those users' Facebook friends.

"They used an automated technique to move from account to account so they could steal the access tokens of those friends, and for friends of those friends, and so on, totaling about 400,000 people," said Guy Rosen, vice president of product management for Facebook, in a post today.

This allowed the attackers to obtain Facebook profiles and see their timeline posts, lists of friends, groups, and names in recent Messenger chats. "Message content was not available to the attackers, with one exception. If a person in this group was a Page admin whose Page had received a message from someone on Facebook, the content of that message was available to the attackers," according to Facebook.

The FBI, which is investigating the attack, has asked the social media giant not to discuss who may be behind it.

Here's how the attack spread: The attackers used part of the 400,000 users' friends lists to steal tokens of 30 million people on Facebook. Some 15 million Facebook users' names, phone numbers, and email addresses were pilfered. For another 14 million users, their usernames and profile details – such as gender, relationship status, hometown, birthdate, city, and devices – as well as their 15 most recent searches from the platform also were stolen. That's in addition to their names, phone numbers, and email addresses.

The remaining 1 million Facebook members' information was not accessed in the attack.

'View As' Bug
Facebook last week announced that a previously unknown vulnerability in its code that existed between July 2017 and September 2018 had been exploited by attackers to steal Facebook access tokens, which could be used to hijack user accounts. Tokens are basically digital keys that allow users to remain logged into the social media platform without constantly signing in.

"The vulnerability was the result of a complex interaction of three distinct software bugs and it impacted "View As," a feature that lets people see what their own profiles look like to someone else," Rosen said.

Facebook discovered the attack on Sept. 25, after noticing unusual activity starting on Sept. 14. "Within two days, we closed the vulnerability, stopped the attack, and secured people's accounts by restoring the access tokens for people who were potentially exposed. As a precaution, we also turned off 'View As,'" Rosen said.

The company suggests Facebook users check the Help Center. It has already begun sending messages to affected victims about what information was stolen and how to protect themselves.

Note from author: While writing this story, I received a notice from Facebook today that I'm one of the breach victims: My name, email address, and phone number were accessed by the attackers.  

Related Content:

 

Black Hat Europe returns to London Dec 3-6 2018  with hands-on technical Trainings, cutting-edge Briefings, Arsenal open-source tool demonstrations, top-tier security solutions and service providers in the Business Hall. Click for information on the conference and to register.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 7/2/2020
Ripple20 Threatens Increasingly Connected Medical Devices
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  6/30/2020
DDoS Attacks Jump 542% from Q4 2019 to Q1 2020
Dark Reading Staff 6/30/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
How Cybersecurity Incident Response Programs Work (and Why Some Don't)
This Tech Digest takes a look at the vital role cybersecurity incident response (IR) plays in managing cyber-risk within organizations. Download the Tech Digest today to find out how well-planned IR programs can detect intrusions, contain breaches, and help an organization restore normal operations.
Flash Poll
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
This report describes some of the latest attacks and threats emanating from the Internet, as well as advice and tips on how your organization can mitigate those threats before they affect your business. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-9498
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
Apache Guacamole 1.1.0 and older may mishandle pointers involved inprocessing data received via RDP static virtual channels. If a userconnects to a malicious or compromised RDP server, a series ofspecially-crafted PDUs could result in memory corruption, possiblyallowing arbitrary code to be executed...
CVE-2020-3282
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
A vulnerability in the web-based management interface of Cisco Unified Communications Manager, Cisco Unified Communications Manager Session Management Edition, Cisco Unified Communications Manager IM & Presence Service, and Cisco Unity Connection could allow an unauthenticated, remote attack...
CVE-2020-5909
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
In versions 3.0.0-3.5.0, 2.0.0-2.9.0, and 1.0.1, when users run the command displayed in NGINX Controller user interface (UI) to fetch the agent installer, the server TLS certificate is not verified.
CVE-2020-5910
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
In versions 3.0.0-3.5.0, 2.0.0-2.9.0, and 1.0.1, the Neural Autonomic Transport System (NATS) messaging services in use by the NGINX Controller do not require any form of authentication, so any successful connection would be authorized.
CVE-2020-5911
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
In versions 3.0.0-3.5.0, 2.0.0-2.9.0, and 1.0.1, the NGINX Controller installer starts the download of Kubernetes packages from an HTTP URL On Debian/Ubuntu system.