Hackers sold 120 million private Facebook messages, report says

what facebook users should know about cambridge analytica and privacy mobile v1

Up to 120 million private Facebook messages were being sold online by hackers this fall, according to a report from the BBC. The breach was first discovered in September and the messages were obtained through unnamed rogue browser extensions which monitored users by mining their information while browsing through the social media website.

Although Facebook is claiming that its systems were not breached as part of the hack, affected users were primarily based in Ukraine and Russia. Some users from the United States were also reportedly impacted after a hacker on an online forum attempted to sell the Facebook information at a rate of 10 cents per account.

“We have contacted browser-makers to ensure that known malicious extensions are no longer available to download in their stores. …We have also contacted law enforcement and have worked with local authorities to remove the website that displayed information from Facebook accounts,” Facebook executive Guy Rosen told the BBC.

Sample data from 81,000 Facebook profiles was also posted online by hackers in order to gain interest in possible sales. The group behind the hack originally told the BBC that data from 120 million Facebook accounts were up for purchase, but cybersecurity experts have been skeptical of that figure.

Still, BBC spoke to impacted users who revealed their information was indeed stolen and also listed on the forum. Data from those accounts included photos from a vacation, a chat about a Depeche Mode concert, and even an “intimate correspondence between two lovers.”

This is not the first time that Facebook has faced a hack. In September, the social media platform announced that up to 50 million accounts were compromised due to a flaw in access tokens and the “View As” feature.

As this latest hack involves the use of browser extensions, it is always best to check which source an extension is coming from, and which permissions it is being granted access to. That is a small step to take, but Google has been larger steps to ensure extensions are safer. In Chrome 70, consumers can restrict host access (website access) by clicking on an extension and selecting an option from the drop-down menu.


Smishing sounds funny, but it’s a serious threat to your phone’s security

We all know phishing is a huge security problem, but most people still believe it’s a problem limited to email. According to new reports, however, phishing scams are attempting to exploit your trust in text messages.
Smart Home

Google Assistant adds smart home bells and whistles in time for the holidays

Just in time for the holidays, Google Assistant is introducing a bunch of new smart home features, including the ability to reply to broadcast messages, create and use cookbooks, and access enhanced storybook content for kids.

What games were nominated for the The Game Awards 2018? Find out here

The Game Awards returns to Los Angeles for its fifth show this December. Here is everything we know about the event, including its location, where you can watch it, and games that were nominated.

Data stolen from HealthCare.gov includes partial SSNs and immigration status

Around 75,000 users have had their user data stolen from government site healthcare.gov, including information on their immigration status, whether they were pregnant, and partial social security numbers.

Here’s how to install Windows on a Chromebook

If you want to push the functionality of your new Chromebook to another level, and Linux isn't really your deal, you can try installing Windows on a Chromebook. Here's how to do so, just in case you're looking to nab some Windows-only…

iPhone users are finding themselves randomly locked out of their Apple ID

According to posts on Reddit and Twitter, it looks like users on Reddit and Twitter having some issues with their Apple accounts. Specifically, it seems as though users are getting randomly locked out of their Apple IDs.

Edit portraits with A.I. and adjust focus in the new ON1 Photo RAW 2019 editor

ON1 Photo RAW 2019 now has a dedicated tab for portraits that automatically recognizes faces to help with retouching. The update also brings a new focus stacking tool, enhancements to layers, and improvements to local adjustments.

Your MacBook can live in the lap of luxury with this leather case

Though there are several cases which we think are best for covering up MacBooks, Twelve South's Journal case is one of the newest available, providing luxurious leather coverage for your Apple laptop.

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.

15-inch MacBook Pro gets more powerful with new AMD Vega GPUs

Confirming Apple's quiet October announcement, new configurations for the top-range 15-inch Apple MacBook laptop are now available, coming complete with AMD Pro Vega 16 or Pro Vega 20 graphics cards on board.
Emerging Tech

Intel’s new ‘neural network on a stick’ aims to unchain A.I. from the internet

To kick off its first developer conference in Beijing, Intel unveiled the second generation of its Neural Compute Stick -- a device that promises to democratize the development of computer vision A.I. applications.

Convert your PDFs into convenient Word documents

PDF files are great, but few document types are as malleable as those specific to Microsoft Word. Here's how to convert a PDF file into a Word document, whether you prefer to use Adobe's software suite or a freemium alternative.

These laptop makers produce the most reliable, quality hardware today

If you want to buy your next laptop based around a specific brand, it helps to know which the best brands of laptops are. This list will give you a good grounding in the most reliable, quality laptop manufacturers today.

All the best Amazon Black Friday deals for 2018

Amazon may be an online-only retailer, but that doesn’t mean its Black Friday sales are anything to sniff at. In fact, due to its online status, Amazon has huge flexibility with the range of products and deals it can offer. Here's our…