We have lost count of how many Facebook scandals have surfaced during the past few years. Whether it is data security, illegal data deals, data leaks, election manipulation, fake news and what not, Facebook has been in and out of multiple scandals in recent times.
This time, the company has acknowledged that it has been storing sensitive user data i.e. usernames and passwords in a plain text file.
How absurd is that? Even a layman knows plain text files don’t have the tiniest amount of security. On top of that, Facebook used the word ‘accidentally’ and said it has been ‘accidentally storing the data as unmasked text.’
According to Pedro Canahuati, the VP of engineering, security, and privacy, this was unveiled in January 2019 during a routine security review. Since, the passwords being stored in plain text could be traced back to 2012, where were all those routine checks for 7 long years?
Facebook, according to Canahuati, uses hashing for masking passwords but due to certain identifiable errors, hashing passwords was not being done.
This is not the kind of ‘mistake’ anyone could have expected from a company as large as Facebook. The passwords and usernames were accessible to more than 20,000 Facebook employees.
In his statement, Canahuati said that ‘some’ users were affected, now what we don’t understand is that how can Facebook call 600 million users ‘some’. Millions of regular Facebook users and thousands of Instagram users have been affected through this breach of security.
Even though Facebook claims the passwords were not accessible to anyone outside Facebook and there is no evidence of misuse of data, most of the people believe otherwise.
An anonymous source, who was a former Facebook employee, said that more than 9000 queries for text in plain text were formulated by Facebook engineers. How is that even possible if the passwords were to be stored via hashing?
None of the statements from Facebook make sense at the moment, the investigation is still going on, let’s see what we find out in the coming months because it is clear, Facebook and scandals are a match already made and we are going to get more of that.