Facebook Private Message Hack: Are We Going to Be Affected?

Posted November 04, 2018

The latest breach is said to be a outcome of malicious third-party browser extensions.

Criminals are selling the private messages of 81,000 hacked Facebook accounts for 10 cents per account. A further 176,000 accounts also contained personal data such as phone numbers and email addresses, though these might've been obtained without actually hacking the accounts, by scraping the information from users who chose not to make it private.

Facebook is in news again, and this time again for a not-so-good reason.

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The attacks, first reported by the BBC Russian Service, were focused heavily on users in Central and Eastern Europe, with minimum focus on people in the U.S. This included a sample of data that the BBC had an expert examine, confirming that over 81,000 profiles' private messages were included.

"One example included photographs of a recent holiday, another was a chat about a recent Depeche Mode (British rock band) concert and a third included complaints about a son-in-law", the report said.

Facebook added it had taken steps to prevent further accounts being affected. Behind the scenes, though, the extension would connect to Facebook and steal information from a victim's logged in account.

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"We have contacted browser-makers to ensure that known malicious extensions are no longer available to download in their stores", Guy Rose, Vice President of Product Management at Facebook, was quoted as saying. These messages were then apparently offered for sale via several websites, one of which was tracked to Russian Federation. But as you'd expect, there are also more sensitive discussions, including "intimate correspondence between two lovers", as the BBC describes it. In total, the hackers made off with the details of over 120 million accounts. However, the data on them could have been scraped from publicly-available information.

But Digital Shadows told the BBC that this claim was doubtful because it was unlikely Facebook would have missed such a large breach.

Facebook is under the microscope ever since the Cambridge Analytica scandal came to light and the social networking platform is trying to deal with every situation carefully.

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