Security & Fraud

Facebook’s Latest Hack Deemed ‘Sophisticated’


Facebook’s Vice President of Global Marketing Carolyn Everson told an Advertising Week panel Monday (Oct. 1) that the latest cyberattack, in which hackers were able to control 50 million users’ accounts, was “sophisticated.”

According to a report in CNBC, Everson said during the panel discussion that “this was an attack, an attack that would require people to understand three different bugs,” comparing the attackers to an “odorless, weightless intruder that walked in,” which Facebook could only detect once the hackers made certain moves.

Everson noted during the panel discussion that the Cambridge Analytica data breach back in March, as well as the most recent one, was Facebook’s responsibility. She did admit Facebook was to blame for the Cambridge Analytica attack, because the social media network didn’t re-check with Cambridge to ensure that it had deleted the improperly accessed data.

“This is the most significant cultural shift: Recognizing our responsibility, taking very specific actions and doing everything we can,” Everson said. In the Cambridge case, the now defunct political consulting firm accessed the data of 87 million Facebook users without their consent.

Facebook said on Friday (Sept. 28) that roughly 50 million of its users had their data exposed through an attack on its network. The social network found that attackers were able to take control of user accounts through a function within the platform’s code, The New York Times reported. Following the discovery, Facebook had the vulnerability fixed and reached out to authorities. More than 90 million users had to log out of their accounts as a result of the breach, which has been described as a typical measure taken with comprised accounts.

“We’re taking it really seriously,” Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg told reporters in a conference call. “We have a major security effort at the company that hardens all of our surfaces.” He also told reporters, “I’m glad we found this. But it definitely is an issue that this happened in the first place.”


Latest Insights: 

Facebook is a giant in the ad game, with 2.3 billion active monthly users and $16.6 billion in quarterly advertising revenue. However, its omnipresence makes it a honeypot for fraudsters. In this month’s Digital Fraud Report, PYMNTS talks with Rob Leathern, Facebook’s director of product management, on how the site deploys automated systems and thorough advertiser vetting to close the lid on fraudster attempts.


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