Tuesday, 13 November, 2018

Hackers Extracted and Published Facebook Private Messages Grabbed Through Bad Browser Plug-Ins

Getty Images Getty Images
Kayla Schwartz | 03 November, 2018, 17:41

Facebook responded to the report saying that its security was intact and that the hackers probably used malicious browser extensions to access the messages. "It is however, more likely that the published list of 81,000 accounts is all that the cybercriminals have, and they are looking to cause disruption and fear". On 26 July this year, the government announced in Parliament that it has ordered a CBI probe into Cambridge Analytica's (CA) misuse of Facebook data. Adding to the troubles of the world's largest social media network, which has over 2 billion users across the world, is another data breach targeting personal messages of thousands of users.

The hackers claim to have details from 120 million accounts.

Before the advertisement was removed, hackers attempted to sell access to the data for as little as 10 cents per account, according to the BBC.

Numerous users affected are reportedly based in the Ukraine and Russian Federation, although there were users affected in many other countries including the United States, the UK and Brazil.

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The cyber-security company Digital Shadows examined the claim on behalf of the BBC and confirmed that more than 81,000 of the profiles posted online as a sample contained private messages.

"Data from a further 176,000 accounts was also made available, although some of the information - including email addresses and phone numbers - could have been scraped from members who had not hidden it", the report reads. We have also contacted law enforcement and have worked with local authorities to remove the website that displayed information from Facebook accounts. Compromised data reportedly included chats about a recent Depeche Mode concert, complaints about a son-in-law, intimate conversations between lovers, and photos of a recent holiday as well.

Upon further investigation, BBC Russian Service contacted five users whose private messages were leaked online and was able to verify the posts' authenticity. However, according to an outside expert reported by the BBC, it appears likely that at least 81,000 Facebook accounts had their privacy breached.

Rosen also suggested people check any browsers extensions they've installed and "remove any that they don't fully trust".

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