Social media giant Facebook has said that it stored millions of passwords of Instagram users in plain text, which left them exposed to people who had access to a certain internal system. We should mention that the security lapse initially came to light last month. However, at that time, Facebook said that it only happened to “tens of thousands of Instagram users”. But now, the company has revised the number to “millions”.
Facebook has also added that the security issue also affected hundreds of millions of Facebook Lite users and tens of millions of other users of its native platform.
Technology companies are supposed to store passwords in an encrypted format that enables websites to confirm that the user is entering the correct password without having to read it. It was previously reported by Krebs on Security that a number of errors seemed to have caused Facebook’s systems to store some passwords as plain text and this has been happening since 2012. The social networking giant only came to know about the issue in January 2018 and last month, it said that the issue had been taken care of.
Krebs has also said that the passwords were stored within Facebook and could be accessed by more than 20,000 employees. The social media giant also said that it had investigated access to the passwords and “no evidence of abuse or misuse” have been found. The company also added that none of these passwords was exposed externally.
It is also worth adding that Facebook has not taken any strong steps to recommend the affected users to change their passwords, but it has said that it will be contacting all the users whose passwords were improperly stored. In a statement, the company said, “This is an issue that has already been widely reported, but we want to be clear that we simply learned there were more passwords stored in this way.”
The update that comes from Facebook today has further expanded the scope of the security lapse. We should mention that Facebook has been embroiled in one data breach after the other since 2018. The most major among these was the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Facebook has been criticised a lot in the United States and other countries for its lack of focus on user privacy. The social media platform is also no longer considered to be a secure platform by many. And now, the data breaches have also started on its other platforms like Instagram, which are far more popular than its native social platform currently.