Hackers Publish Private Messages From 81,000 Facebook Accounts

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Criminals are selling the private messages of 81,000 hacked Facebook accounts for 10 cents per account. The group posted a sample of its purported 120 million account haul online and according to cybersecurity firm Digital Shadows, more than 81,000 of those shared profiles contained private messages. And according to Facebook, the breach is due to malware-containing browser extensions. "Malicious extensions can be used to intercept and manipulate the data passing through the browser", Holland said.

The BBC discovered the ad in September, which claimed: "We sell personal information of Facebook users".

It is believed that numerous user details came from Russian Federation and Ukraine-based Facebook users although some messages also originated from people in the United States, the UK and Brazil, the BBC notes. "We have also contacted law enforcement and have worked with local authorities to remove the website that displayed information from Facebook accounts", Facebook executive Guy Rosen told the publication.

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The BBC says it contacted 5 users (from Moscow, Belgorod and Perm) affected by the breach, who all confirmed that the texts available online were indeed their private Facebook messages. This included chats from different users about a recent Depeche Mode concert, photographs of a recent holiday, complaints about a son-in-law as well as intimate conversation between two lovers on Facebook.

Facebook believes a rogue browser extension is to blame for the theft.

Personal shopping assistants, bookmarking applications and even mini-puzzle games are all on offer from various browsers such as Chrome, Opera and Firefox as third-party extensions.

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But Facebook said it has put multiple measures in place to make sure the hackers don't hack more accounts. But Rick Holland, Digital Shadows' chief information security officer and Vice President of strategy, told Gizmodo that they still don't know what browser extension or extensions might be responsible.

While the data leak might not be entirely Facebook's fault, in the wake of Cambridge Analytica scandal it surely sounds like a bad news for Facebook.

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