Facebook Security released a statement today to report that the world’s largest social network had been targeted in a sophisticated attack last month. According to the statement, there is no evidence that user data from Facebook members were compromised.
The announcement comes on the heels of President Obama’s State of the Union speech, which included a call for action against cyber security threats upon the nation’s cyber infrastructure. During his speech, the President announced that signed an executive order to improve the security of critical infrastructure.
In recent weeks, other prominent American entities such as the Federal Reserve, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washing Post have all experienced cyber attacks, which appear to be traced back to servers in China. And it wasn’t long ago when Twitter was also hacked and as many as 250,000 passwords were taken, along with user names and email addresses. To Twitter’s credit, the San Francisco-based social networking site, took immediate action by shutting down the attack and reset member’s passwords.
The January cyber attack on Facebook occurred when a “handful of employees visited a mobile developer website that was compromised.” After Facebook Security became aware of malware on these employee’s laptops, the malware was “remediated”, law enforcement agencies were notified and has initiated its own investigation into the source of the attack.
Although representatives from Facebook maintain that no user data was stolen, the “sophisticated attack”, should serve notice that more needs to be done to protect the social network and its member’s personal information. Yet while Facebook will be conducting its internal investigation and partnering with other company security teams on how to prevent future attacks, its members can do their part by becoming more vigilant with invitations of free Mac laptops, free gift cards, claims of violating policy and other forms of phishing or scams. The online debunking service Hoax Slayer, has a list of the most recent scams, hoaxes and security warnings that have been posted on member Timelines.
There is no question that there has been a significant increase in hacking attacks, not only on social media sites, news agencies, and financial institutions but other targets that President Obama suggested, with power grids, air traffic control and emergency networks among them. The proposed cyber security bill (Cyber Information Sharing and Protection Act - CISPA) was reintroduced on Wednesday, by members of the House Intelligence Committee, but the bill has raised concerns from the ACLU, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and privacy groups who suspect the legislation may violate the privacy of internet users. At this time, it is not known if the bill will have enough support in Congress to pass, but this much is known – something does need to be done to offset the multiple attacks against the American government and any company operating in the country.