Facebook Hack Committed by Spammers, Not Spies

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Facebook said it was conducting an internal probe into the incident and last week cut the number of affected users from its original estimate of 50 million after investigators reviewed activity on accounts that may have been affected.

According to a new report by the Wall Street Journal (paywall) that is not the case, as the publication's anonymous sources say that it was in fact the doing of spammers.

Facebook said it discovered the attack on September 14 and remedied the situation on September 27.

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While an ongoing investigation revealed that just 30 million accounts were affected by Facebook's most recent hack, concerns arose around foreign states and supposed political motives as the USA midterm elections rapidly approach. The hackers were able to exploit vulnerabilities in Facebook's code to get their hands on "access tokens" - essentially digital keys that give them full access to compromised users' accounts - and then scraped users' data. Facebook now believes that the actors who gained access to private information for 30 million accounts were scammers looking to make money through deceptive advertising, not foreign agents.

While the researchers behind this WSJ report have not identified the individuals behind this latest data breach, they have noted that the people who orchestrated the attack exist within the Facebook and Instagram ecosystem posing as a digital marketing company. Among the details accessed were name, phone numbers and email addresses.

The attackers were able to access the accounts as if they were the owners but have not, according to the social network, not published or modified content. Hackers have taken advantage of the conjunction of several bugs dating back to July 2017 and nestled in the feature " View as", which allows you to view what looks like his own profile when he is seen by another user. "The FBI is actively investigating and have asked us not to discuss who may be behind this attack". On the question of exposing the identities of the hackers, Facebook declined to share any details citing Federal Bureau of Investigation directions, which is also investing the case.

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