Hackers advertise private messages of 81,000 Facebook users for sale
Facebook is having a terrible year for data privacy. Personal information leaks have come in all shapes and sizes, from third-party apps to GDPR infringements and, of course, the whole Cambridge Analytica debacle. User faith in the site is at an all-time low — and another recent hack isn’t doing anything to calm growing concern.
Russian hackers have published 81,000 Facebook users’ private messages online, as reported by the BBC, in order to advertise them for sale. The same hackers also published basic data from 176,000 accounts more including email addresses and phone numbers, and claim to have information on up to 120 million accounts in total.
Several users whose messages were published confirmed to the BBC that the messages were legitimate, although basic data from the 176,000 accounts could feasibly have been acquired without hacking the accounts. As such, the actual number of compromised Facebook accounts remains unclear.
The hackers advertised these messages with a view to sell account information. Access was offered to users of an online forum for only 8p per account, or £80,000 per million accounts.
Facebook is maintaining the integrity of its security, however, claiming that the data leak was in fact the fault of malicious browser extensions. Many innocent-seeming extensions that users install for their various functions actually include spyware, and Facebook is pointing the finger at one of these for the lost information. The social media giant has reached out to browsers to ensure such extensions aren’t available for download.
While the hackers claim to have information on 120 million accounts, that doesn’t mean you need to worry about your data — there’s no proof any more than these 81,000 accounts have been compromised. In addition, the majority of accounts were from Russia or Ukraine, although a few were from other countries around the world.
It’s always important to know what information Facebook has on you, however, so you can be in full control of your data.