Facebook Faces $1.63 Billion Fine From European Union Over Latest Data Breach

| October 1 , 2018 , 13:59 IST

Facebook's recent data breach, where the social media giant admitted hacking of 50 million accounts and vulnerability of 40 million others may cost the firm as the European Union (EU) privacy watchdog, Ireland's Data Protection Commission considers fining Facebook $1.63 billion, media reported on Sunday.

According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, the Data Protection Commission of Ireland, Facebook's lead privacy regulator, has asked Facebook to submit more details in the recent data breach incident where accounts of over 50 million users were hacked via "Access Tokens" or digital keys.

The "privacy watchdog could fine Facebook as much as $1.63 billion for the data breach", the report added.

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"We are concerned at the fact that this breach was discovered on Tuesday (last week) and affects many millions of user accounts but Facebook is unable to clarify the nature of the breach and the risk for users at this point," the regulator was quoted as saying.

Guy Rosen, Facebook VP of product management wrote on the company blog on September 28, 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.

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"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.

"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.