Facebook, which revealed last week that a massive data breach compromised 50 million accounts, is facing a potential $1.63 billion / €1.4 billion penalty under new European regulations.
A Facebook investigation revealed that attackers exploited a vulnerability in the “View As” feature that lets people see what their own profile looks like to external parties.
“This allowed them to steal Facebook access tokens which they could then use to take over people’s accounts,” the company said in a breach notice signed by its VP of Product Management, Guy Rosen.
Facebook discovered the breach Tuesday, Sept. 25, and complied with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation’s requirement that entities report a breach within 72 hours of the moment they learned of it. The company offered few details about the hack, but promised to take the incident extremely seriously and offer updates as investigators learn more about what happened.
Facebook’s lead privacy regulator in Europe, Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, is ready to fine the social network up to $1.63 billion / €1.4 billion for this incident, under the European Union’s GDPR.
In an emailed statement, the regulator told the press it was “concerned at the fact that this breach was discovered on Tuesday and affects many millions of user accounts but Facebook is unable to clarify the nature of the breach and the risk for users at this point.”
“Under GDPR, companies that don’t do enough to safeguard their users’ data risk a maximum fine of EUR20 million ($23 million), or 4% of a firm’s global annual revenue for the prior year, whichever is higher. Facebook’s maximum fine would be $1.63 billion using the larger calculation,” reports MarketWatch.
Since then, Facebook has issued several updates with clarifications about the breach, though the situation remains virtually unchanged – users’ whose accounts have fallen in the wrong hands before Facebook’s auto-logout could be compromised.
If you’ve found yourself logged out of Facebook after the news hit the wires, Facebook says there’s no need to change your password. But if you’re having trouble logging back into your account, the company says you should learn what you can do at this address.