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Facebook Data Breach Update Reveals Theft of 30M Users' Data

Facebook FB recently issued an update on the security breach that it had revealed on Sep 28. The company stated that of the expected 50 million users, only 30 million users’ access tokens were stolen.

Facebook had announced that a security bug that was active from July 2017 in the “View As” option led to surge in unusual activities, making the company suspect it as a data breach on Sep 14.

On Sep 25, the company identified the vulnerability but the magnitude and losses from the attack were not clear until recently.

Notably, Facebook mentioned that soon all the affected users will be personally informed about the kind of data that might have been stolen. However, the company noted that the attack was limited to Facebook and its other platforms like Messenger, WhatsApp, Oculus and payments among others are safe.

Facebook, Inc. Revenue (TTM)

Facebook, Inc. Revenue (TTM) | Facebook, Inc. Quote

Details About the Issue

Facebook noted that hackers who stole the access tokens to carry out the attack first gained tokens from their friends. Then, using an automated technique, they were successful in stealing tokens from friends of friends and ultimately stole tokens from 400,000 accounts.

Of the 30 million people, 15 million users’ name and contact details were stolen. For other 14 million, apart from name and contact details, personal information like gender, religion, hometown, relationship status, last 10 places checked into and 15 most recent searches among others were stolen.

No information was accessed for the rest 1 million people, per management.

Facebook’s Repeated Failures to Secure its Platform

Facebook came under severe scrutiny in March after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which affected 87 million users. Even after making continuous investments to secure the platform post the scandal, the company frequently finds itself in the middle of data security breach.

With about 1.4% users’ data (of the 2.2 billion monthly active Facebook users) compromised, in the recent security breach, Facebook still has no plans to provide additional protection services for the affected users, per BBC.

Additionally, in a situation like this, the company came up with a new hardware device called Portal and a new feature Facebook Dating in Colombia, which are aimed at collecting more user data. Moreover, Facebook’s banking push is likely to scare investors.

Given Facebook’s repeated failures to secure the platform, many users may be reluctant to share more personal information than they already have. Maybe this is the reason why Facebook’s competitor Snap SNAP is gaining increasing popularity among younger users.

Moreover, investors should note that Facebook is also among a number of tech giants like Alphabet’s GOOGL Google and Twitter TWTR that are likely to face antitrust probe by the U.S. government for their repeated failures to tackle user data safety.

Facebook currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) Stocks here.

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