In cases where a company asks you for personal information, you might give it to them if you trust they will do whatever possible to keep it safe. There are many new technologies currently making it easier for tech firms to securely stored data but as we’ve come to notice more and more, none of them are not immune to security hacks.
Case in point: Facebook.
It seems like Facebook is grappling with yet another security breach. New reports are indicating that the login passwords of hundreds of millions of users may have been exposed in plain text to Facebook’s internal employees.
The company, however, says that it hasn’t found any evidence of malicious actions. However, Facebook is also urging users to change their passwords immediately just in case.
So, what really happened? First, you probably know that passwords are very sensitive information. They are often stored using cryptography to make them impossible to read on the other end. Tech companies use a technique called hashing to read the passwords. In essence, the technique allow Facebook, for example, to verify your password without actually seeing what it is. This means that even if the passwords on the database were to be stolen, they would be useless in practive. However, this security breach states that a number of Facebook passwords were stored in plain text instead of being encrypted. Anyone who is able to access the database can actually read them and use them if they want to.
The good thing right now is that the people who were able to access these passwords are just internal Facebook employees. A statement released by the social media company also noted that there was nothing malicious detected. The company will be notifying the users affected by the breach to change their password. Facebook also confirmed that a majority of the people affected were on the Facebook Lite platform. This is a scaled down version of Facebook and it’s normally used in countries where the bandwidth is limited.
It’s not clear whether this recent breach is related to some of the other security issues that we have seen from the social media service so far. But the company has said that it is investigating the matter further and more details could be released soon. The issue may have affected Instagram accounts too. However, Facebook said that this affected a very small number of users.
Facebook has been engulfed in a number of privacy scandals over the last two years. Just recently, the company announced that it had detected a breach affecting nearly 50 million people on the platform. The issue was addressed quite fast averting any public fall out. The social media service was also infamously in the news after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the biggest data breach in history.
Facebook allegedly allowed a third-party data firm to collect the personal data of nearly 80 million users. The data was used in the 2016 presidential elections in the US to target voters. The company cannot afford another privacy breach at the moment. The social media platform is already on thin ice when it comes to user confidence and another breach could be destructive.