Hackers seem to have compromised and posted private messages from at least 81k Facebook user accounts
About 81k leaked Facebook messages are on sale in various hacking forums and web ads, according to reports of information security and digital forensics experts from the International Institute of Cyber Security.
As if it was not enough, the perpetrators claim to have details of a total of 120 million accounts, information that they are trying to sell, although there are reasons to doubt this figure. On the other hand, Facebook claims that its security has not been compromised again after the scandal of September, when it was revealed that over 30 million accounts were compromised due to a flaw in one of the Facebook features.
Experts in digital forensics believe that the conversations of these 80k accounts have been obtained due to malicious browser extensions. The company maintains that the necessary measures are already being taken to ensure that incidents of this kind are not re-introduced in the future.
According to the first investigations carried out, most of the affected users are in Russia and Ukraine, although the users affected by this incident are also counted in the United States, Brazil, United Kingdom and other places of the world.
Hackers offered access to compromised accounts for 10 cents each. However, the announcement was taken offline in the past hours, according to the monitoring of experts in digital forensics and cybersecurity.
“We’ve contacted browser developers to make sure that the malicious extensions we were able to identify are no longer available to download in their stores”, said Guy Rosen, Facebook executive. “We have also communicated with the police and have worked with local authorities to remove any website that displays information from the Facebook accounts”.
This anomalous behavior was first detected in September when a message from a user nicknamed FBSaler appeared on an English-language Internet forum. “We have personal information from Facebook users for sale. Our database includes 120 million accounts”, the user wrote.
Several cybersecurity and digital forensics firms examined the incident and concluded that over 81k of the profiles published online as a sample of the database contained private messages.
Data from other 176k accounts were also leaked, although some of the information, including email addresses and phone numbers, could have been obtained due to user carelessness.
Who will be responsible for this?
Personal purchase assistants, bookmarking applications and even some videogames are offered from various browsers such as Chrome, Opera and Firefox as third-party extensions. According to Facebook, it was one of those extensions that silently oversaw the activity of the victims on the platform and sent personal details and private conversations to hackers who try to profit from their data.
Facebook has not explicitly named the extensions supposedly involved, but the company claims that this time the leak was not their fault.
Independent cybersecurity experts believe that if unauthorized extensions were the cause, browser developers could share some responsibility for not examining the programs, assuming they were distributed through their marketplaces.
Still, it seems that Facebook will be the most affected company by this new incident of leaked personal information. The social network has had a terrible year in terms of data security and is sure it’s going to face more questions about its ability to respond to situations like this that affect a large number of people.
Working as a cyber security solutions architect, Alisa focuses on bug bounty and network security. Before joining us she held a cyber security researcher positions within a variety of cyber security start-ups. She also experience in different industry domains like finance, healthcare and consumer products.