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Facebook blames spammers looking to sell ads for hack that affected 30 million users

While an ongoing investigation revealed that just 30 million accounts were affected by Facebook’s most recent hack, concerns arose around foreign states and supposed political motives as the US midterm elections rapidly approach. Fortunately, preliminary findings suggest that scammers are responsible for stealing the tokens, solely for the purpose of misleading advertisments.

After Facebook managed to shut down the backdoor and take steps to prevent further damage, it launched an investigation into finding the perpetrators and their motives. The identity of the attackers might never be revealed as the social network is keeping tight lipped, however internal researchers told the Wall Street Journal of the suspected motives.

Quelling concerns that a foreign state could potentially be muscling in amid the US midterm elections, internal investigators stated that the hackers were after financial rather than political gain. The finger was pointed towards an anonymous digital marketing company that Facebook’s security team had been tracking prior to the investigation for various other activities.

The perpetrators only accessed a “limited subset of the data” that could have been harvested, according to the report, with contact details such as email addresses and phone numbers being the priority. Although this corroborates the belief that advertisement was the motivation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is working alongside Facebook to ensure that there’s not a repeat of the US presidential election, where Russian and Iranian interference was retroactively highlighted across the platform.

Due to the numerous security concerns across the past year, major Facebook shareholders are now turning their attention towards CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s place as chairman. Many are calling for him to be removed and replaced, however Zuckerberg has yet to have his say in the matter.

KitGuru Says: I can understand the continued paranoia over political manipulation given the platform’s history, but the half-baked data harvesting does suggest that it was done by a company with money in mind. Still, these are only preliminary results as the investigation continues.

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