Messages from 81,000 hacked Facebook accounts reportedly up for sale

Joanna Estrada
November 3, 2018

A report by BBC cites the perpetrators themselves to say nearly 81,000 users' personal messages are published and compromised on the Internet, and hackers are looking to make money from it.

What's going on: Hackers told BBC News they have access to 120 million accounts, which they are attempting to sell to interested parties. The social network has yet to name and shame the extensions believed to be responsible for the breach in security, but explained that one in particular quietly monitored Facebook use and inconspicuously sent the personal data. Digital Shadows was also able to confirm that over 81,000 profiles in the sample contained private messages, and the BBC Russian Service further contacted five of the victims to confirm the posts were indeed theirs. The advertisement listed online said that full access to personal messages can be obtained at $0.10 per account, and it listed 81,000 of the profiles as samples for buyers.

Digital Shadows also confirmed that personal information such as phone numbers and email addresses from another 176,000 accounts was published, but that it may have been scraped because the accounts in question had not hidden it.

Where?: Most hacked accounts are based in Ukraine and Russian Federation. One of the websites where the hackers posted the data was ascertained to have been set up in St Petersburg.

The hackers said they obtained the information through a browser extension.

After investigating the claims, Facebook said it suspects the account information was gathered by "malicious browser extensions", which can range from online shopping assistants to ad blockers.

"We have contacted browser makers to ensure that known malicious extensions are no longer available to download in their stores and to share information that could help identify additional extensions that may be related". On multiple occasions, it contacted local authorities to get the site brokering stolen information taken down.

It is strongly suggested that users avoid browser extensions altogether unless they are have good ratings and have been installed by many people as the review process for browser extensions leaves something to be desired. "As we continue to investigate, we will take action to secure people's accounts as appropriate".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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