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

03 November, 2018, 17:38 | Author: Tara Roberts
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Hackers are reportedly offering to sell private messages from at least 81,000 Facebook accounts. In total, the hackers made off with the details of over 120 million accounts. These hackers were also only able to obtain Facebook conversations - snippets of text sent between users - rather than users' personal information that's stored on Facebook servers. However, with so many extensions available, malicious parties have many options: compromise existing software through insiders or poor developer security; release their own seemingly benign plug-ins that provide a useful function alongside snooping; or buy extensions from developers and then update them to include malware.

FBSaler first marketed this database on an underground hacking forum called BlackHatWorld where the seller stated that "We sell personal information of Facebook users". Numerous affected users hail from Ukraine and Russian Federation, but there is evidence of users in the UK, US, and Brazil also being affected. Further, it was found that email addresses and phone numbers could have been extracted from 176,000 more accounts.

One example included photographs of a recent holiday, another was a chat about a recent Depeche Mode concert, and a third included complaints about a son-in-law.

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Unlike the September hack though, this time Facebook isn't really to be blamed.

"Based on our investigation so far, we believe this information was obtained through malicious browser extensions installed off of Facebook", Guy Rosen, VP of Product Management at Facebook, told Mashable via e-mail.

Facebook's Rosen said that its security wasn't compromised, and urged people to remove any plug-ins they don't fully trust. "As we continue to investigate, we will take action to secure people's accounts as appropriate", he said. But Rick Holland, Digital Shadows' chief information security officer and Vice President of strategy, told Gizmodo that they still don't know what browser extension or extensions might be responsible. But as you'd expect, there are also more sensitive discussions, including "intimate correspondence between two lovers", as the BBC describes it.

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