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MeitY asks Facebook for update on data breach affecting 50M users

MeitY has asked Facebook to quantify the impact of its latest security breach in which the accounts of 50 million people were hacked, including third–party apps linked to those accounts, reports the Economic Times. The report added that the ministry had “communicated their concerns” to Facebook instead of sending a formal notice. Facebook has sought two days to respond.

At last count in December 2016, Facebook India had 166 million users [of which over 95% were mobile], while as of June 2017, the company had 2 billion users globally.

Last week, Facebook announced that at least 50 million people and potentially upto 90 million users were affected by a security breach involving the Facebook’s “View As” feature. The company said the vulnerability had been present and undiscovered for a year. The weak link gave hackers the ability to take over accounts by stealing their third–party access tokens. Access tokens allow users to log into other apps (Instagram among many others), via their Facebook username and password.

By last Friday, when Facebook announced the breach, it said it had already “fixed the vulnerability and informed law enforcement.” It had also reset the access tokens for accounts which it confirmed to be affected.

Indian authorities ask Facebook for answers

Indian authorities have questioned Facebook multiple times since the Cambridge Analytica data breach:

  • In June, the Indian government served Facebook with three notices, the last one seeking an explanation over reports of the company’s data sharing partnerships with phone manufacturers.
  • In August, Minister of Electronics and IT, RS Prasad said that the CBI had been asked to investigate the affect of Cambridge Analytica on Indian users of Facebook.
  • Earlier this year, the Indian government had served notices to both Cambridge Analytica and Facebook after the social media giant revealed that Indian users may have been exposed to the breach.

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