Private Messages of 120 mn Facebook Users Hacked

If you're a Facebook user your data may be compromised

If you're a Facebook user your data may be compromised

At one point, hackers have put up an ad offering access to the data at 10 cents per account, but that ad has been taken offline. The group posted a sample of its purported 120 million account haul online and according to cybersecurity firm Digital Shadows, more than 81,000 of those shared profiles contained private messages.

The hackers said they obtained the information through a browser extension. However, this new stolen data appears to have been obtained through malicious browser add-ons. Now, another report has surfaced online claiming that private messages of 81,000 users are being sold on the internet.

In response to the story, Facebook executive Guy Rosen told the BBC that the company has "Contacted browser-makers to ensure that known malicious extensions are no longer available to download in their stores", and "Have also contacted law enforcement and have worked with local authorities to remove the website that displayed information from Facebook accounts".

Numerous users affected are reportedly based in the Ukraine and Russian Federation, although there were users affected in many other countries including the United States, the UK and Brazil.

The BBC Russian Service contacted five Russian Facebook users whose private messages had been uploaded and confirmed the posts were theirs. Compromised data reportedly included chats about a recent Depeche Mode concert, complaints about a son-in-law, intimate conversations between lovers, and photos of a recent holiday as well.

Specifically, personal shopping assistants, task-specific applications, and even game extension were reported as the reason why hackers were able to infiltrate the victim's social media account. An additional 176,000 accounts had data that could have been scraped from public Facebook pages.

For example, if the Facebookers implicated in the "hack" happened to share information such as personal addresses, telephone numbers, or banking information (you never know) then the illegal transactions holds more than just its nominal value.

The advertiser was asked whether the breached accounts were the same as those involved in either the Cambridge Analytica scandal or the subsequent security breach revealed in September.

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