Facebook says 50M user accounts affected by security breach

The social network says it has taken a number of steps to address the issue.

Melony Roy
September 28, 2018 - 2:35 pm
The logo of social networking site Facebook is reflected on the screen of a smartphone resting on a laptop keyboard.

PA Images/Sipa USA

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW NEWSRADIO) — Facebook says its engineering team recently discovered a security breach affecting nearly 50 million user accounts.

The company says an investigation, while still in its early stages, has revealed that hackers exploited a vulnerability that impacted its "View As" feature that allows people to see what their own profiles looks like to someone else. It allowed hackers to steal Facebook access tokens, which could be used to take over someone's account. 

Access tokens are the equivalent of digital keys that keep people logged into Facebook so they don't need to re-enter their password every time they use the app.

The social network says it has taken a number of steps to address the issue: it has fixed the vulnerability and informed law enforcement, reset the access token to the 50 million accounts affected, and temporarily turned off the "View As" feature. 

However, the company has yet to determine whether these accounts were misused or any information accessed. 

Facebook says it does not know who is behind the attacks.

This latest security breach comes just months after the Cambridge Analytica data scandal when it was revealed that the data analytics firm improperly gained access to personal data from millions of user profiles.