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Posted: Alayna Pehrson|September 28th, 2018

Identity Theft

50 Million Users Put at Risk by Recent Facebook Data Breach (2018)

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Written by Alayna Pehrson
Alayna Pehrson is a Content Management Specialist for Best Company. With a communications degree and a journalism background, she strives to provide helpful online content that is focused on credit repair, identity theft, and merchant account services.

On Friday, Sept. 28, 2018, it was announced that Facebook experienced a data breach that exposed 50 million users' personal information and other data. The social media network discovered the breach within the same week. 

It appears the hackers responsible for the breach targeted Facebook's "view as" feature. This feature allows users to view their own account from the perspective of others and enhance their account privacy if wanted. Hackers, however, were able to exploit the vulnerabilities found within this feature's code and use it to steal access to user tokens. These tokens allow people to stay logged into the social media network for long periods of time. When hackers were able to get access to these tokens, they were able to basically control and take over user accounts. 

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, said the attackers responsible for the data breach used "Facebook developer API's to obtain some information like 'name, gender, and hometowns' that are linked to a user's profile page", according to Tech Crunch.

To prevent further exposure and damage, Facebook logged about 90 million users out of their Facebook accounts on Friday. Facebook officials and law enforcement are still working on investigating the data breach.

Those who are worried about the Facebook data breach can check if they were affected by logging back into their Facebook account and going to the security and login page. Once on the security and login page, users should see only the devices they've used to log into their account. 

Facebook has recently been in the public eye for a variety of user security concerns. The social media network has more than one billion active monthly users and, as such, stores a mass amount of personal information and data. According to The New York Times, "Facebook insists that it has instituted strict data-sharing policies with third parties, and has scaled back the amount of data it agrees to share with developers. The company suspended access to more than 400 third-party apps after an audit of the thousands of outside apps connected to Facebook." 

Although there are steps users can take to prevent putting their personal security at risk, there is no way to ensure complete data security. Those worried about potential data breaches in the future should be cautious with the amount of information they give out and should consider getting professional identity theft protection services. 

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