A data breach happens when a hacker or a cybercriminal successfully invades a data source thereby accessing sensitive data and confidential information. There are various steps involved in a data breach operation. During the research stage, the cybercriminal examines loopholes in the company’s security whether through a certain system, network or even people. During the attack stage, the criminal implements the first contact using a social attack or a network. With the ensuing social or network attack, the cybercriminal uses an application, a system or an infrastructure to invade the business or the institution’s network. During the exfiltration stage, the cybercriminal has successfully entered the network, thus giving him the ability to extract sensitive data. There probably is no one in the world who hasn’t heard about Facebook much less has a Facebook account. The world was shocked as news of Facebook security breach plagued the headlines of every news site and media platform. Facebook is probably the most famous social networking site in the world with users spanning every country. It has also been the victim of the biggest data breach this year.
It has already faced scrutiny over its data privacy measures and the reported security breach which affected about 50 million users drove people to forward a campaign to delete their Facebook accounts. Last year, Facebook has also come in hot waters due to a controversial report which revealed that 87 million profile users has been accessed without consent and has consequently affected elections and even led to several causalities in many countries.
Facebook mentioned that it had repaired all weak points and alerted law enforcement officials, according to a report by the New York Times. Facebook officials are still in the dark with regards to who or where the attackers are, how wide and how much damage has been done, or if there were any specific targets among Facebook users.
Facebook is in its early investigation of the attack. Mark Zuckerberg says that they are taking the problem seriously and are taking measures to address it. He further remarked that they are glad to have found out about the issue. This attack has been pinpointed heavily by critics as proof that there is much to improve with the security and data privacy measures of Facebook in order to take care of its customers across the world. According to an officer from the Federal Trade Commission, data breaches don’t just violate the users’ privacy, it also created various great risks to the economy and even to national security, thus it is essential to address it as soon as possible and effect changes in the security of the business to avoid these attacks significantly if not completely in the future.
Facebook has been criticized by its users all over the world for its inaction which reportedly resulted in the vulnerability of many users private and unique information. The stolen data from Facebook included personal data such as religion, gender, relationship status, birthdate, location, recent search history and was deemed as being worse than financial data exposed.
Consumer Reports remarked that due to the attack, access to data from a very big population of users has been opened and exposed to potentially dangerous cybercrimes. Though information entered into Facebook may be considered trivial, it will have drastic consequences when seen in the bigger picture. Experts even say that the data breached may be more extreme and intense than losing one’s social security card or credit card. Although most data breaches involve financial information, Facebook data is equally devastating as it can be used and misused in a variety of harmful and destructive ways. It is not only invasive to the user but it can further pose greater harm and risk to those whose data has been exposed.
Since the data from Facebook is entered by the consumers themselves, it is very accurate which makes it very valuable for criminals who want to take advantage of the data. According to the same article, the data from Facebook can be at risk of being used for blackmailing or ransomware attacks as people do a lot of personal things and send personal messages on the social media platform. Hackers and other cybercriminals may use this information in a variety of unimaginable ways.
This kind of cyber-attacks definitely affects user satisfaction even to the point of advocating and campaigning for the boycotting of various products and services.
The reason why the attack against Facebook may well be considered the biggest data breach this year is due to its impact and the campaign to boycott the social media site along with the debates it has opened on online data privacy to millions even billions around the world.