Protecting your Facebook information from hackers

Protecting your Facebook information from hackers

Simply put, it lets Facebook users preview their own accounts.

You may have noticed that when you log into your Facebook account once, a security key (access token) is generated, which helps the app to login to the user's account next time without a password. "Even my Facebook account got compromised (logged out)".

Facebook revealed on Friday that millions of its user accounts were compromised by a security breach earlier in the week, forcing it to implement further security measures to protect the accounts.

Hitesh Kargathra, lead security consultant at Falanx Group, said organisations are being judged less on whether they have suffered a data breach and more on how these breaches are handled.

The hackers also gained access to personal information from third-party apps and services, like Tinder, Spotify, Airbnb and Instagram, which allow users to sign up using their Facebook login. In plain words, apart from the one security token that Facebook generates for you, there is an extra key apart generated by the hackers that can be used to control your Facebook account. But the benefit comes at a cost, all these platforms will share the same access credentials.

Facebook says that it has already fixed the bug and informed the law enforcement. But it estimates the firm could have had access to the data of up to 87 million users, most in the United States, without their consent, and mined this information to serve the Trump campaign.

Select “Settings”
Select “Settings”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the F8 Facebook Developers conference on May 1, 2018 in San Jose, California.

Facebook does know who it behind the attacks.

Damian Collins, who chairs the select committee, said: "Facebook's latest data breach demonstrates more clearly than ever why Mark Zuckerberg should face public scrutiny about the practices and policies his company employs to keep British users' data safe".

That's why when you close the Facebook tab and open it up again later, you're still logged in. You can also try deactivating your account for some time, as reactivating it will also grant new access tokens, while old tokens will automatically expire. Close to 90 million users have been logged out of their current sessions.

"We can not say with absolute surety what went wrong until Facebook shares more information", said Prakash. For instance, say you have a Gmail account. The attackers not only needed to find this vulnerability and use it to get an access token, they then had to pivot from that account to others to steal more tokens.

"Because this issue impacted access tokens, it's worth highlighting that these are the equivalent of a username and password combination but are used by applications to authenticate against other applications", said Tim Mackey, senior technical evangelist at Synopsys. Zuckerberg has tried mightily to assure consumers and lawmakers that the site is doing everything in its power to protect personal information while tamping down on foreign meddling during elections.

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