(The AEGIS Alliance) – SILICON VALLEY, CALIFORNIA – Facebook is under fire again. Following a year worth of controversy about the social media platform in 2018, the company said it was prepared to turn a new leaf in 2019. However, that was said before Brian Krebs at Krebs on Security made a report that Facebook stored hundreds of millions of user password on its company servers all in plain text.
Why it’s a problem
Although it may not sound too bad to some, you would then realize that keeping passwords in plain text means they were fully readable. Usually Facebook salts and hashes password, preventing them from being viewed. More so, the passwords were kept on a server, as Krebs reported, that had been accessed millions of times by around 2,000 developers and engineers.
Is it a big deal?
If you are wondering why that is a big deal, it’s because any one of those developers or engineers could have been so inclined that they could have looked at that information and used it to access users’ accounts.
Will there be backlash?
It does not appear that Facebook will be hurting much or face a lot of backlash with either its stock price or user amounts.
After the initial reports of this news, Facebook’s stock had been trading marginally higher at $166 per share on Thursday at 2:30 p.m.
Facebook says no need to worry
For its part, Facebook said there is not any evidence that employees were abusing their access to password data. Looking even further, the fact the passwords were stores in a readable format had been discovered by Facebook itself during a review of its security. However, this problem was discovered back in January, and we are just now only hearing about it.
Lies and controversy
All of this happened in under a month after CEO Mark Zuckerberg was talking about, in a lengthy Facebook post, that the company was “doubling down on privacy” and “ensuring users’ data remains safe.”
Facebook’s VP of engineering, security and privacy, Pedro Canahuati, explained the latest issue in a post, and said Facebook is going to notify “hundreds of millions of Facebook Lite users, tens of millions of other Facebook users, and tens of thousands of Instagram users” letting them know their passwords had been part of that batch stores in plain text.
Change your Facebook password
Let’s face it, if you are a Facebook user, you should most likely change your password as soon as possible. The same goes for Instagram users. Although WhatsApp passwords were not mentioned in the new privacy problem, it’s still a good idea to change your password there also.
Facebook’s problems do not add up
This news is following what happened in 2018, including a bug that exposed millions of users’ private photos to app developers. There was also the “View as” bug, that allowed hackers to exploit access tokens that are used to keep users logged in to Facebook. The tokens are able to be used to gain access to users’ accounts.
Those problems and more happened after learning about the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Facebook could also face a record-setting multi-billion dollar fine by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
Even though there have been a lot of negative headlines over the last year, Facebook’s number of users has not suffered. Facebook said it saw active users growing daily within every geographic location it serves in the last quarter. Monthly active users also either remained stable or grew for the quarter.
Will this new Facebook scandal have an impact on the company? It is likely it will not.
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.