Facebook tentatively concludes spammers behind recent data breach

Facebook big hack was the result of spammers wanting money apparently

On Friday, Facebook provided more details about the attack that it first disclosed two weeks ago - and said the Federal Bureau of Investigation had asked it not to discuss who might be behind the attack.

The security flaw that was discovered in September in the first social network the world has allowed hackers to compromise the personal data of approximately 29 million users, said Facebook, Friday, 12 October, in a press release. "The FBI is actively investigating and have asked us not to discuss who may be behind this attack". The group behind the attack are believed to be a collection of Facebook and Instagram spammers that present themselves as a digital marketing company.

The company said that it would notify account holders affected by the hack.


Facebook said it was conducting an internal investigation into the incident and last week cut the number of affected users from its original estimate after investigators reviewed activity on accounts that may have been affected. For the other 15 million, hackers accessed name and contact details, according to Facebook. It said the data theft had hit fewer than the 50 million profiles it initially reported. Although this corroborates the belief that advertisement was the motivation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is working alongside Facebook to ensure that there's not a repeat of the USA presidential election, where Russian and Iranian interference was retroactively highlighted across the platform. Facebook now believes that the actors who gained access to private information for 30 million accounts were scammers looking to make money through deceptive advertising, not foreign agents. Once that vulnerability was exploited, the attackers could steal the access tokens used to let people use their accounts without having to log in every time to do so.

The perpetrators only accessed a "limited subset of the data" that could have been harvested, according to the report, with contact details such as email addresses and phone numbers being the priority. Facebook users are also able to check whether they were victim of the intrusion by going to Facebook's help pages.

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