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Facebook data breach: 50 million users affected

Craig Johnson,

If you were logged out of your Facebook account and prompted to log back on, it’s because of a “security issue,” the social network said Friday. Facebook has been hacked, affecting nearly 50 million users.

“Our investigation is still in its early stages. But it’s clear that attackers exploited a vulnerability in Facebook’s code that impacted “View As”, a feature that lets people see what their own profile looks like to someone else,” Facebook said in an security update to users. “This allowed them to steal Facebook access tokens which they could then use to take over people’s accounts. Access tokens are the equivalent of digital keys that keep people logged in to Facebook so they don’t need to re-enter their password every time they use the app.”

Facebook says they have alerted law enforcement and there’s no need for anyone to change their passwords. “If anyone wants to take the precautionary action of logging out of Facebook, they should visit the “Security and Login” section in settings. It lists the places people are logged into Facebook with a one-click option to log out of them all,” the company said.

Data breach: Facebook says 50 million users hacked

The hack is just the latest controversy to hit the social networking giant. In March, Facebook was embroiled in a massive data sharing scandal involving a controversial firm called Cambridge Analytica.

The company accessed people’s information under questionable circumstances via a third-party app inside Facebook. As a result, the social networking site’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg was chastised by lawmakers in Washington.

Earlier this year, a Reuters/Ipsos online poll that gauged how Americans feel about tech companies’ use of people’s data found that just 41% of them trust Facebook to obey U.S. privacy laws. Other tech companies fared much better, with 62% of poll respondents saying that Amazon had their confidence and 60% giving Google and Microsoft their trust.

Money expert Clark Howard has always warned his listeners to be careful with social media. Here are two tried-and-true tips on cybersecurity safety:

  • Don’t overshare: Your data can be used and abused
  • Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know: You cannot easily safeguard yourself from someone once you’re connected to them on Facebook
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