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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: Facebook

Facebook Stored Millions of Instagram Users' Passwords in Plaintext

Facebook Stored Millions of Instagram Users' Passwords in Plaintext

April 18, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Facebook late last month revealed that the social media company mistakenly stored passwords for "hundreds of millions" of Facebook users in plaintext, including "tens of thousands" passwords of its Instagram users as well. Now it appears that the incident is far worse than first reported. Facebook today quietly updated its March press release, adding that the actual number of affected Instagram users were not in hundreds of thousands but millions. These plaintext passwords for millions of Instagram users, along with millions of Facebook users, were accessible to some of the Facebook engineers, who according to the company, did not abuse it. According to the updated post, Facebook discovered "additional logs of Instagram passwords" stored in a readable format, but added that its investigation revealed that the stored passwords were never "abused or improperly accessed" by any of its employees. Here's the full updated statement p
Facebook Collected Contacts from 1.5 Million Email Accounts Without Users' Permission

Facebook Collected Contacts from 1.5 Million Email Accounts Without Users' Permission

April 18, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Not a week goes without a new Facebook blunder. Remember the most recent revelation of Facebook being caught asking users new to the social network platform for their email account passwords to verify their identity? At the time, it was suspected that Facebook might be using access to users' email accounts to unauthorizedly and secretly gather a copy of their saved contacts. Now it turns out that the collection of email contacts was true, Facebook finally admits. In a statement released on Wednesday, Facebook said the social media company "unintentionally" uploaded email contacts from up to 1.5 million new users on its servers, without their consent or knowledge, since May 2016. In other words, nearly 1.5 million users had shared passwords for their email accounts with Facebook as part of its dubious verification process. A Facebook spokesperson shared information with Business Insider that the company was using harvested data to "build Facebook'
Russia Fines Facebook $47 Over Citizens' Data Privacy Dispute

Russia Fines Facebook $47 Over Citizens' Data Privacy Dispute

April 12, 2019Wang Wei
Yes, you read that right! Russia has fined Facebook with 3,000 rubles, roughly $47, for not complying with the country's controversial Data Localization law. It's bizarre and unbelievable, but true. In December last year, Russian Internet watchdog Roskomnadzor sent notifications to Twitter and Facebook asking them to provide information about the location of servers that store the personal data of its citizens. Roskomnadzor – also known as the Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies, and Mass Communications – is Russian telecommunications watchdog that runs a huge blacklist of websites banned in Russia. Though the social media platforms had one month to reply, they choose not to disclose this information, as a result of which Moscow's Tagansky District Court imposed 3,000 rubles fine on Twitter last week and the same on Facebook today. The fine is the minimum that Russian courts can impose on companies for violatin
540 Million Facebook User Records Found On Unprotected Amazon Servers

540 Million Facebook User Records Found On Unprotected Amazon Servers

April 03, 2019Mohit Kumar
It's been a bad week for Facebook users. First, the social media company was caught asking some of its new users to share passwords for their registered email accounts and now… ...the bad week gets worse with a new privacy breach. More than half a billion records of millions of Facebook users have been found exposed on unprotected Amazon cloud servers. The exposed datasets do not directly come from Facebook; instead, they were collected and unsecurely stored online by third-party Facebook app developers. Researchers at the cybersecurity firm UpGuard today revealed that they discovered two datasets—one from a Mexican media company called Cultura Colectiva and another from a Facebook-integrated app called "At the pool"—both left publicly accessible on the Internet. More than 146 GB of data collected by Cultura Colectiva contains over 540 million Facebook user records, including comments, likes, reactions, account names, Facebook user IDs, and more. The
Facebook Caught Asking Some Users Passwords for Their Email Accounts

Facebook Caught Asking Some Users Passwords for Their Email Accounts

April 02, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Facebook has been caught practicing the worst ever user-verification mechanism that could put the security of its users at risk. Generally, social media or any other online service asks users to confirm a secret code or a unique URL sent to the email address they provided for the account registration. However, Facebook has been found asking some newly-registered users to provide the social network with the passwords to their email accounts, which according to security experts is a terrible idea that could threaten privacy and security of its users. First noticed by Twitter account e-Sushi using the handle @originalesushi, Facebook has been prompting users to hand over their passwords for third-party email services, so that the company can "automatically" verify their email addresses. However, the prompt only appears for email accounts from certain email providers which Facebook considers to be suspicious. "Tested it myself registering 3 times with 3 differe
How to Stop Facebook App From Tracking Your Location In the Background

How to Stop Facebook App From Tracking Your Location In the Background

February 22, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Every app installed on your smartphone with permission to access location service "can" continually collect your real-time location secretly, even in the background when you do not use them. Do you know? — Installing the Facebook app on your Android and iOS smartphones automatically gives the social media company your rightful consent to collect the history of your precise location. If you are not aware, there is a setting called "Location History" in your Facebook app that comes enabled by default, allowing the company to track your every movement even when you are not using the social media app. So, every time you turn ON location service/GPS setting on your smartphone, let's say for using Uber app or Google Maps, Facebook starts tracking your location. Users can manually turn Facebook's Location History option OFF from the app settings to completely prevent Facebook from collecting your location data, even when the app is in use. However, unf
How to Delete Accidentally Sent Messages, Photos on Facebook Messenger

How to Delete Accidentally Sent Messages, Photos on Facebook Messenger

February 05, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Ever sent a message on Facebook Messenger then immediately regretted it, or an embarrassing text to your boss in the heat of the moment at late night, or maybe accidentally sent messages or photos to a wrong group chat? Of course, you have. We have all been through drunk texts and embarrassing photos many times that we later regret sending but are forced to live with our mistakes. Good news, Facebook is now giving us a way to erase our little embarrassments. After offering a similar feature to WhatsApp users two years ago, Facebook is now rolling out a long-promised option to delete text messages, photos, or videos inside its Messenger application starting from Tuesday, February 5. You Have 10 Minutes to Delete Sent Facebook Messages The unsend feature allows users to delete a message within 10 minutes of sending it, for both individual and group chats. Previously, Messenger offered the "delete" option that allowed users to only delete messages for them—but t
Facebook Paid Teens $20 to Install 'Research' App That Collects Private Data

Facebook Paid Teens $20 to Install 'Research' App That Collects Private Data

January 30, 2019Swati Khandelwal
If you are thinking that Facebook is sitting quietly after being forced to remove its Onavo VPN app from Apple's App Store, then you are mistaken. It turns out that Facebook is paying teenagers around $20 a month to use its VPN app that aggressively monitors their smartphone and web activity and then sends it back to Facebook. The social media giant was previously caught collecting some of this data through Onavo Protect , a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service that it acquired in 2013. However, the company was forced to pull the app from the App Store in August 2018 after Apple found that Facebook was using the VPN service to track its user activity and data across multiple apps, which clearly violates its App Store guidelines on data collection. Onavo Protect became a data collection tool for Facebook helping the company track smartphone users' activities across multiple different apps to learn insights about how Facebook users use third-party apps. Facebook&#
New Facebook Bug Exposed 6.8 Million Users Photos to Third-Party Apps

New Facebook Bug Exposed 6.8 Million Users Photos to Third-Party Apps

December 14, 2018Mohit Kumar
Facebook's latest screw-up — a programming bug in Facebook website accidentally gave 1,500 third-party apps access to the unposted Facebook photos of as many as 6.8 million users. Facebook today quietly announced that it discovered a new API bug in its photo-sharing system that let 876 developers access users' private photos which they never shared on their timeline, including images uploaded to Marketplace or Facebook Stories. "When someone gives permission for an app to access their photos on Facebook, we usually only grant the app access to photos people share on their timeline. In this case, the bug potentially gave developers access to other photos, such as those shared on Marketplace or Facebook Stories," Facebook said. What's worse? The bug even exposed photos that people uploaded to Facebook but chose not to post or didn't finish posting it for some reason. The flaw left users' private data exposed for 12 days, between September 13th an
Get paid up to $40,000 for finding ways to hack Facebook or Instagram accounts

Get paid up to $40,000 for finding ways to hack Facebook or Instagram accounts

November 21, 2018Mohit Kumar
Here we have great news for all bug bounty hunters. Now you can get paid up to $40,000 for finding and responsibly reporting critical vulnerabilities in the websites and mobile applications owned by Facebook that could allow cyber attackers to take over user accounts. In the latest post published Tuesday on the Facebook page, the social networking giant announced that it has raised the monetary reward for account takeover vulnerabilities to encourage security researchers and bug bounty hunters in helping Facebook to fix high impact issues before nefarious hackers exploit them. The announcement says: Cybersecurity researchers who find security vulnerabilities in any products owned by Facebook , including Instagram , WhatsApp , and Oculus , that can lead to a full account takeover, including access tokens leakage or the ability to access users' valid sessions, will be rewarded an average bounty of: $40,000 reward—if user interaction is not required at all $25,000 reward—
Another Facebook Bug Could Have Exposed Your Private Information

Another Facebook Bug Could Have Exposed Your Private Information

November 13, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Another security vulnerability has been reported in Facebook that could have allowed attackers to obtain certain personal information about users and their friends, potentially putting the privacy of users of the world's most popular social network at risk. Discovered by cybersecurity researchers from Imperva, the vulnerability resides in the way Facebook search feature displays results for entered queries. According to Imperva researcher Ron Masas, the page that displays search results includes iFrame elements associated with each outcome, where the endpoint URLs of those iFrames did not have any protection mechanisms in place to protect against cross-site request forgery (CSRF) attacks. It should be noted that the newly reported vulnerability has already been patched, and unlike previously disclosed flaw in Facebook that exposed personal information of 30 million users , it did not allow attackers to extract information from mass accounts at once. How Does the Facebo
Facebook Fined £500,000 for Cambridge Analytica Data Scandal

Facebook Fined £500,000 for Cambridge Analytica Data Scandal

October 25, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Facebook has finally been slapped with its first fine of £500,000 for allowing political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica to improperly gather and misuse data of 87 million users . The fine has been imposed by the UK's Information Commissioner's Office ( ICO ) and was calculated using the UK's old Data Protection Act 1998 which can levy a maximum penalty of £500,000 — ironically that's equals to the amount Facebook earns every 18 minutes. The news does not come as a surprise as the U.K.'s data privacy watchdog already notified the social network giant in July this year that the commission was intended to issue the maximum fine. For those unaware, Facebook has been under scrutiny since earlier this year when it was revealed that the personal data of 87 million users was improperly gathered and misused by political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica , who reportedly helped Donald Trump win the US presidency in 2016. The ICO, who launched an investigation
Instagram Adds 3 New Security Tools to Make its Platform More Secure

Instagram Adds 3 New Security Tools to Make its Platform More Secure

August 29, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Instagram is growing quickly—and with the second most popular social media network in the world (behind just Facebook), the photo-sharing network absolutely dominates when it comes to user interactions. And with great success comes great responsibility—responsibility to keep users' accounts safe, responsibility to fight fake accounts and news, and responsibility of being transparent. You might know that the Facebook-owned photo-sharing network has recently been a victim of a widespread hacking campaign that has affected thousands of Instagram users, leaving them locked out of their accounts. In the wake of the security mishappening, Instagram has announced a trio of security updates intended to discourage trolls, stop misinformation, and make the platform a little safer for its one billion users. In an official blog post , titled "New Tools to Keep Instagram Safe," published by Instagram Co-Founder & CTO Mike Krieger on August 28, the company announced thr
Facebook Open Sources Fizz — TLS 1.3 Library For Speed and Security

Facebook Open Sources Fizz — TLS 1.3 Library For Speed and Security

August 07, 2018Mohit Kumar
Facebook has open sourced Fizz—a library designed to help developers implement TLS 1.3 protocol with all recommended security and performance related configurations. Since late last month, Google Chrome web browser has started marking all non-HTTPS websites as 'Not Secure' in an effort to make the web a more secure place, forcing website administrators to switch to HTTPS. TLS 1.3 is the newest and most secure cryptographic protocol of the Transportation Layer Security (TLS), the successor to Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), which encrypts data in transit between clients and servers to prevent data theft or tampering. To make internet traffic more secure, TLS 1.3 incorporates several new features like encrypting handshake messages to keep certificates private, redesigning the way secret keys are derived, and a zero round-trip (0-RTT) connection setup, making certain requests faster than TLS 1.2. Written in C++ 14, Fizz is a reliable and highly performant TLS library that
Facebook Admits Sharing Users' Data With 61 Tech Companies

Facebook Admits Sharing Users' Data With 61 Tech Companies

July 02, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Facebook has admitted that the company gave dozens of tech companies and app developers special access to its users' data after publicly saying it had restricted outside companies to access such data back in 2015. It's an unusual clear view of how the largest social networking site manages your personal information. During the Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed March this year, Facebook stated that it already cut off third-party access to its users' data and their friends in May 2015 only. However, in a 747-page long document [ PDF ] delivered to Congress late Friday, the social networking giant admitted that it continued sharing data with 61 hardware and software makers , as well as app developers after 2015 as well. The disclosure comes in response to hundreds of questions posed to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg by members of Congress in April about its company's practices with data of its billions of users. The Washington Post reported that the company
Another Facebook Quiz App Left 120 Million Users' Data Exposed

Another Facebook Quiz App Left 120 Million Users' Data Exposed

June 28, 2018Swati Khandelwal
People are still getting over the most controversial data scandal of the year, i.e., Cambridge Analytica scandal , and Facebook is under fire yet again after it emerges that a popular quiz app on the social media platform exposed the private data of up to 120 million users for years. Facebook was in controversies earlier this year over a quiz app that sold data of 87 million users to a political consultancy firm, who reportedly helped Donald Trump win the US presidency in 2016. Now, a different third-party quiz app, called NameTests, found exposing data of up to 120 million Facebook users to anyone who happened to find it, an ethical hacker revealed. NameTests[.]com, the website behind popular social quizzes, like "Which Disney Princess Are You?" that has around 120 million monthly users, uses Facebook's app platform to offer a fast way to sign up. Just like any other Facebook app, signing up on the NameTests website using their app allows the company to fetch neces
Facebook bug changed 14 million users’ default privacy settings to public

Facebook bug changed 14 million users' default privacy settings to public

June 08, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Facebook admits as many as 14 millions of its users who thought they're sharing content privately with only friends may have inadvertently shared their posts with everyone because of a software bug. Facebook said in front of Congress in March over the Cambridge Analytica scandal that "every piece of content that you share on Facebook you own, you have complete control over who sees it and how you share it," but the news came out to be another failure of the company to keep the information of millions of users private. Facebook typically allows users to select the audiences who can see their posts, and that privacy setting remains the default until the user itself manually updates it. However, the social media giant revealed Thursday that it recently found a bug that automatically updated the default audience setting for 14 million users' Facebook posts to "Public," even if they had intended to share them just with their friends, or a smaller group
7 Chrome Extensions Spreading Through Facebook Caught Stealing Passwords

7 Chrome Extensions Spreading Through Facebook Caught Stealing Passwords

May 11, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Luring users on social media to visit lookalike version of popular websites that pop-up a legitimate-looking Chrome extension installation window is one of the most common modus operandi of cybercriminals to spread malware. Security researchers are again warning users of a new malware campaign that has been active since at least March this year and has already infected more than 100,000 users worldwide. Dubbed Nigelthorn, the malware is rapidly spreading through socially engineered links on Facebook and infecting victims' systems with malicious browser extensions that steal their social media credentials, install cryptocurrency miners, and engage them in click fraud. The malware was pushed through at least seven different Chrome browser extensions—all were hosted on Google's official Chrome Web Store. These malicious Chrome browser extensions were first discovered by researchers at cybersecurity firm Radware, after a "well-protected network" of one of its custo
Facebook Plans to Build Its Own Chips For Hardware Devices

Facebook Plans to Build Its Own Chips For Hardware Devices

April 19, 2018Wang Wei
A new job opening post on Facebook suggests that the social network is forming a team to build its own hardware chips, joining other tech titans like Google, Apple, and Amazon in becoming more self-reliant. According to the post , Facebook is looking for an expert in ASIC and FPGA—two custom silicon designs to help it evaluate, develop and drive next-generation technologies within Facebook—particularly in artificial intelligence and machine learning. The social media company is seeking to hire an expert who can "an end-to-end SoC/ASIC, firmware and driver development organization, including all aspects of front-end and back-end standard cell ASIC development," reads the job listing on Facebook's corporate website. SoC (system-on-a-chip) is a processor typically used in mobile devices with all the components required to power a device, while ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) is a customized piece of silicon designed for a narrow purpose that companie
How to Find Out Everything Facebook Knows About You

How to Find Out Everything Facebook Knows About You

April 10, 2018Unknown
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify before Congress this week to explain how his company collects and handles users' personal information. The past few weeks have been difficult for Facebook over concerns that the data of millions of users has been breached. Facebook stores details of almost every action you have taken and interaction you have engaged in on its platform. What many Facebook users are unaware of, though, is that you can easily download and see all the information Facebook has collected from you in just a few minutes. Here's how to find out what data Facebook has collected over time, including all your past posts, messages, photos, videos and more. Here's how to Download Your Facebook Data: First, sign into Facebook (on a desktop browser, not your mobile). Then, click the drop-down arrow on the top right, and click on "Settings." This will take you to facebook.com/settings, where you will find your "General Account Set
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