Facebook Facing $1.63 Billion EU Fine Over Recent Hack

Sean Reid
October 2, 2018

Facebook revealed that its team discovered a security breach last week that exposed nearly 50 million accounts.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Ireland's Data Protection Commission, the leading entity that looks over Facebook for the European Union, has asked for more information pertaining to the hack.

This follows a statement posted to Twitter on Friday that it was pressing Facebook to "urgently clarify" the nature of the incident and risk to customers.

In theory Facebook could be fined if it is found to be in breach of GDPR, Europe's data protection rules.

The UK's privacy watchdog, instrumental in the creation of the GDPR, is also pressing the firm.

"They were able to post as the user, and to access all of the information that the users had uploaded to Facebook, as well as all of the information accessible to the users, including the private information of their friends which is not publicly available".

The latest breach is just the latest of Facebook's problems.

Facebook has notified law enforcement authorities about the breach, and has also reset the access tokens of around 90 million users as a precautionary measure.

Said Ted Charney, of Charney Lawyers PC: "Facebook is the world's leading social media network".

Facebook's engineers and security experts revealed that attackers exploited one of its features and then dumped the data of millions of users.

"What I would conclude from this is that the attack was carried out by an advanced group or likely nation state, who have the resources to constantly sweep massive and therefore attractive targets, like Facebook to spot vulnerabilities", he said.

"It appears it could very well affect other platforms if you have used Facebook as your means of logging in", said prof Alan Woodward, a cyber-security expert from Surrey University.

This feature enables users to preview what their profiles look like when other users view their profiles.

The hackers also gained access to personal information from third-party apps and services, like Tinder, Spotify, Airbnb and Instagram, which allow users to sign up using their Facebook login. "Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg have testified before Congress on steps the company is taking to protect the privacy of its 2.23 billion monthly active users".

In the fresh Facebook data breach case, hackers stole "access tokens" or digital keys that keep people logged in to Facebook so they do not need to re-enter their password every time they use the app. "Once logged in, the attackers could take control".

Importantly, if you log into other services with Facebook, this access token would treat you as being logged into those services too. Facebook, which saw revenue of $40.65 billion in 2017, saw revenue for the six months ended June 30 reach $25.2 billion-up 45% from the year-ago period.

It's already known that hackers have made use a loophole in Facebook and stolen 5 Crore access tokens.

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