Facebook stored millions of passwords in plain text

Facebook stored millions of passwords in plain text

Security researcher Brian Krebs reported earlier today that Facebook had been improperly storing user passwords for years, making them widely accessible to thousands of company employees.

Facebook stored the passwords of hundreds of millions of its users in plain text inside its internal systems, the social media giant has revealed.

An anonymous source reportedly spoke to Krebs on Security about the subject, explaining that the passwords were stored unencrypted - pretty much the single biggest "no-no" in password-based security - as part of recorded logs for some applications.

Facebook estimates the total to include "tens of millions of Facebook users" and "tens of thousands of Instagram users".

"This caught our attention because our login systems are created to mask passwords using techniques that make them unreadable", he added.

Facebook mistakenly stored "hundreds of millions" of passwords in plaintext, unprotected by any encryption, the company has admitted.

The company said it discovered the exposed passwords during a security review in January and launched an investigation. Official numbers are still being tabulated although according to one insider, the lax security measure could have put as many as 600 million passwords at risk.

Читайте также: Google announces a new game streaming service, called Stadia

Per a report from Krebs on Security on March 21, Facebook has - yet again - found a way to mishandle its users' data. CNN Business has asked Facebook why users of Facebook Lite were so highly impacted. These passwords were stored by the company in plain text dating back as far as 2012. "Right now they're working on an effort to reduce that number even more by only counting things we have currently in our data warehouse".

Keeping passwords hashed, or encrypted, is widely regarded as fundamental to cybersecurity.

And its investigation showed that most of the people affected were users of Facebook Lite, which tends to be used in nations where net connections are sparse and slow.

The silver lining, at least so far, is that there's no evidence that the account passwords left Facebook premises, so to speak.

For added protection, the firm also recommends setting up a security key or two-factor authentication through a third party authentication app. The company allegedly does not know how many passwords were exposed, or for how long.

Last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg touted a new "privacy-focused vision" for the social network that would emphasize private communication over public sharing.

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