Science & Technology

50 Million Facebook Accounts Hacked, Overall 90 Million Accounts Logged Out

| September 29 , 2018 , 09:58 IST

Social media giant Facebook has become an important part of daily life, and users often remain logged in on their respective accounts on various systems. Facebook on Friday confirmed that it had faced a security issue which resulted in the hacking of 50 million accounts, and the vulnerability of 40 million others. As a result, Facebook has logged out accounts of a total of 90 million users.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, "This is a very serious security issue, and we're taking it very seriously."

He gave a detailed update in a Facebook post:

According to an official statement by Facebook on its company blog, the hacking took place due to a security flaw in its 'View As' feature which allows people to view a post as an outsider before publishing. Hackers used the View As feature to hack 50 million Facebook accounts, putting another 40 million at risk.

The 'View As' feature has now been disabled and 90 million accounts have been logged out from the respective devices and will require users to change their passwords.

Guy Rosen, Facebook VP of product management wrote on the company blog on Friday, explaining the issue and detailing the steps taken up by the firm.

"On the afternoon of Tuesday, September 25, our engineering team discovered a security issue affecting almost 50 million accounts. We’re taking this incredibly seriously and wanted to let everyone know what’s happened and the immediate action we’ve taken to protect people’s security," Rosen wrote.

"Our investigation is still in its early stages. But it’s clear that attackers exploited a vulnerability in Facebook’s code that impacted “View As” a feature that lets people see what their own profile looks like to someone else. This allowed them to steal Facebook access tokens which they could then use to take over people’s accounts. Access tokens are the equivalent of digital keys that keep people logged in to Facebook so they don’t need to re-enter their password every time they use the app," he said.

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"We have reset the access tokens of the almost 50 million accounts we know were affected to protect their security. We’re also taking the precautionary step of resetting access tokens for another 40 million accounts that have been subject to a “View As” look-up in the last year. As a result, around 90 million people will now have to log back in to Facebook, or any of their apps that use Facebook Login. After they have logged back in, people will get a notification at the top of their News Feed explaining what happened," Rosen said.

The company's value fell by US $12 billion after news of the hack at the world's largest social media firm came to light.