Facebook Breach Sparks Investigations in Ireland and the US

Irish authorities and the FBI are both launching investigations surrounding the recent Facebook data breach.

A lot has happened since we last covered the Facebook breach. We first brought you news of the breach late last month where it was reported that an estimated 50 million accounts have been compromised. Within hours of the breach, a class action lawsuit was filed against the company.

A lot has changed since then. For one, the original estimation of 50 million accounts has been downgraded to an estimated 30 million. Facebook did launch an investigation to see if users using the Workplace App were also affected. It’s unclear whether or not anything was found on that front.

Of course, one of the things we pointed out earlier is that this breach is very likely going to be a test for Europe’s new GDPR laws. Those laws, as many of you know, came into force back in June. At this point, things are moving ahead in Europe. In Ireland, authorities have launched a probe to determine what happened with the Facebook breach. As many are now more recently pointing out, it is, in fact, going to be a test of the new data protection laws. From the report:

DUBLIN: Ireland’s data protection authority launched an investigation into Facebook on Wednesday (Oct 3), bringing stringent new European privacy laws to bear on the tech titan after a security breach exposed 50 million accounts.

“The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) has today, 3 October 2018, commenced an investigation … into the Facebook data breach,” a DPC spokesman said in a statement.

“In particular, the investigation will examine Facebook’s compliance with its obligation under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to implement appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure the security and safeguarding of the personal data it processes.”

The Irish probe has been touted as the first major test of the reformed European regulation which came into effect in May.

Of course, the DPC isn’t the only one investigating. In the US, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is also launching an investigation into the data breach. From ABC:

The company said the FBI is investigating the hack and apparently asked Facebook not to reveal who may be behind the data breach.

Meanwhile, more information is being published about the nature of the breach. It seems that various pieces of personal information have been affected, but only for half of the affected accounts. from The Guardian:

Facebook has revealed 30m accounts were affected in a data breach last month. The company said hackers were able to access personal information for nearly half of those accounts.

That information included name, relationship status, religion, birthdate, workplaces, search activity, and recent location check-ins. The company had initially said 50m accounts were affected.

Rosen says the attackers did not access any credit card information associated with members’ accounts, and that the company has not received any reports of stolen information being available on the dark web – portions of the internet requiring special software to reach.

The social network also found no evidence that attackers used the stolen tokens to access any third-party apps, including those that use Facebook’s single-sign-in to log in. It also did not impact users on other Facebook properties such as Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, or Oculus.

The report further indicates that Facebook intends on contacting those affected by this latest breach.

Right now, things are certainly in the more murky stages. Investigations are being launched and, although more details are being released, there are still big gaps in information at this point in time. While some are threatening to leave Facebook, others are admitting that they’ve grown too dependent or too addicted to ever leave. So, if anything, this is a rather stressful time for some as they wait and see if they were affected by the breach. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and update you if we find out anything more.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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