Personal Facebook Messages Of 81,000 Users Up For Sale

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"Malicious extensions can be used to intercept and manipulate the data passing through the browser", Holland said.

Hackers appear to have compromised and published private messages from at least 81,000 Facebook users' accounts. Further, it was found that email addresses and phone numbers could have been extracted from 176,000 more accounts.

The BBC Russian service contacted the five Russian users whose messages were uploaded by FBSaler and the post were theirs. But the stolen private messages sure look legit. "As we continue to investigate, we will take action to secure people's accounts as appropriate", Rosen said in a statement to Deadline.

Sample message topics ranged from photos of a vacation and talk about a recent Depeche Mode concert to complaints about a son-in-law and intimate chat between two lovers.

"We have contacted browser-makers to ensure that known malicious extensions are no longer available to download in their stores", explained Facebook executive Guy Rosen.

Ireland's Data Protection Commission (DPC), which is Facebook's lead privacy regulator in Europe, has opened a formal investigation into this data breach that could result in a fine of $1.63 billion. But Rick Holland, Digital Shadows' chief information security officer and Vice President of strategy, told Gizmodo that they still don't know what browser extension or extensions might be responsible.

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The embattled network has had a awful year for data security and questions will be asked about whether it is proactive enough in responding to situations like this that affect large numbers of people.

The hackers claim to have details from 120 million accounts.

The breach was first discovered in September.

The BBC said there was reason to believe the 120 million claim was exaggerated. This seems unlikely, however, as Facebook would have noticed such a substantial breach, according to cyber-security company Digital Shadows, which has been working with the BBC.

While the data leak might not be entirely Facebook's fault, in the wake of Cambridge Analytica scandal it surely sounds like a bad news for Facebook.