Facebook Inc., seeking to rebuild itself from the blunder of past security mistakes, was faced with yet another security breach this past week which exposed the personal information of nearly 50 million users.
The hack was the largest in Facebook’s 14-year history as attackers exploited a bug in the social media network’s system called “View As” that lets users view their Facebook page as it appears to another user.
Hackers used the “View As” feature to take over accounts and use them as they were the account holders, including the ability to post or view8 information shared by any of that account’s “friends”. Facebook, however, says no stored credit card information was accessed or stolen.
As a result of the hack, 90 million accounts were forcibly logged out for security precautions, including that of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg.
Zuckerberg highlighted importance of cyber security, stating on Friday:
“The reality here is we face constant attacks from people who want to take over accounts or steal information. . . . we need to do more to prevent this from happening in the first place.”
Such a task is easier said than done, being that this this latest incident is one of many security breakdowns Facebook has faced over the past five years.
2014–’15 Facebook was victim of a malicious survey, which resulted in the data of 87 million users being used by third parties such as Cambridge Analytica, a data-driven political firm. Facebook also came under fire in 2017 for allowing Russia to disseminate fake news and politically divisive ads during the 2016 election.
Following the news, Virginia’s Mark Warner, the Senate Intelligence Committee’s ranking Democrat, called on Congress to investigate.
“(Friday’s) disclosure is a reminder about the dangers posed when a small number of companies like Facebook or the credit bureau Equifax are able to accumulate so much personal data about individual Americans without adequate security measures,” Warner said in a statement
“As I’ve said before – the era of the Wild West in social media is over.”
[CNN] [ABC News] [The Hill]