Hack­ers ac­cessed 29M Face­book accounts and stole per­sonal data

The Standard (St. Catharines) - - Canada & World - MAE AN­DER­SON

NEW YORK — Face­book says hack­ers ac­cessed a wide swath of in­for­ma­tion — rang­ing from emails and phone num­bers to more per­sonal de­tails like sites vis­ited and places checked into — from mil­lions of accounts as part of a se­cu­rity breach the com­pany dis­closed two weeks ago.

Twenty-nine mil­lion accounts had some form of in­for­ma­tion stolen. Orig­i­nally Face­book said 50 mil­lion accounts were af­fected, but that it didn’t know if they had been mis­used. The news comes at a jit­tery time ahead of the midterm elec­tions when Face­book is fight­ing off mis­use of its site on a num­ber of fronts.

On Fri­day Face­book said hack­ers ac­cessed names, email ad­dresses or phone num­bers from these accounts. For 14 mil­lion of them, hack­ers got even more data, such as home­town, birth­date, the last 10 places they checked into or the 15 most re­cent searches.

An ad­di­tional 1 mil­lion accounts were af­fected, but hack­ers didn’t get any in­for­ma­tion from them. Face­book isn’t giv­ing a break­down of where these users are, but says the breach was “fairly broad.” It plans to send mes­sages to peo­ple whose accounts were hacked. Face­book said third-party apps that use a Face­book lo­gin and Face­book apps like What­sApp and In­sta­gram were un­af­fected by the breach.

Face­book said the FBI is in­ves­ti­gat­ing, but asked the com­pany not to dis­cuss who may be be­hind the at­tack. The at­tack­ers gained the abil­ity to “seize con­trol” of user accounts by steal­ing dig­i­tal keys the com­pany uses to keep users logged in. They could do so by ex­ploit­ing three dis­tinct bugs in Face­book’s code.

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