Facebook believes the data breach which hit 29million users last month was the work of spammers rather than nation states, it has been claimed.
The social network reportedly believes the hackers who launched the massive cyber attack were ‘looking to make money through deceptive advertising’.
Facebook’s preliminary findings did not suggest that the hackers were affiliated to any government, sources told the Wall Street Journal.
The company is said to believe that the attackers – who were previously known to Facebook’s security workers – had posed as a digital marketing company.
Facebook said last Friday that that hackers had accessed personal data of 29million users in a breach which was discovered late last month.
The attack exploited a trio of software flaws to steal ‘access tokens’ that enable people to automatically log back onto the platform.
Hackers accessed users’ names, phone numbers and email addresses, while some also saw their gender, religion, home town, birth date and places they had recently ‘checked in’ to as visiting.
The attack did not affect Facebook-owned Messenger, Instagram or WhatsApp, the company said.
Facebook said engineers discovered a breach on September 25 and had it patched two days later.
That breach allegedly related to a ‘view as’ feature – described as a privacy tool to let users see how their profiles look to other people.
The function has been disabled for the time being as a precaution.
The breach was the latest privacy embarrassment for Facebook, which earlier this year acknowledged that tens of millions of users had their personal data hijacked by Cambridge Analytica, a political firm working for Donald Trump in 2016.
‘We face constant attacks from people who want to take over accounts or steal information around the world,’ chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said on his own Facebook page when the breach was disclosed.
‘While I’m glad we found this, fixed the vulnerability, and secured the accounts that may be at risk, the reality is we need to continue developing new tools to prevent this from happening in the first place.’ -DAILY MAIL