Mar 21, 2019

Facebook stored hundreds of millions of user passwords in plain text

Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Christophe Morin/IP3/Getty Images

For years, Facebook has been storing hundreds of millions of users’ passwords exposed in plain text in an internal database that is searchable by tens of thousands employees, Brian Krebs of KrebsOnSecurity reports.

Why it matters: Although Facebook says it has no evidence that the database was abused by employees, this is just the latest example in a string of controversies over the company's handling of users’ information and privacy. In the last few months alone, Facebook has come under fire for sharing user data — including private messages — with other businesses and allowing users to be looked up by their phone numbers.

The big picture: Facebook is on the cusp of integrating several apps with messaging capabilities into 1 communications structure, which has raised questions among privacy advocates and lawmakers alike over Facebook's shaky track record on privacy.

Details:

  • Facebook found the security issue in January during a “routing security review,” the company's VP of engineering, security and privacy wrote in a blog post. In some cases the exposure of the passwords goes back as far as 2012.
  • Facebook will be notifying the users whose passwords were affected.
  • By the numbers: 20,000 employees could search the database and between 200 million and 600 million users had their passwords stored in plain text, per Krebs.
  • Security-aware companies typically store passwords in encrypted or otherwise obscured formats that don't allow them to be read, even by their own employees.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 716,101 — Total deaths: 33,854 — Total recoveries: 148,900.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 136,880 — Total deaths: 2,409 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: The first federal prisoner to die from coronavirus was reported from a correctional facility in Louisiana on Sunday.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Trump touts press briefing "ratings" as U.S. coronavirus case surge

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump sent about a half-dozen tweets on Sunday touting the high television ratings that his coronavirus press briefings have received, selectively citing a New York Times article that compared them to "The Bachelor" and "Monday Night Football."

Why it matters: The president has been holding daily press briefings in the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic was declared, but news outlets have struggled with how to cover them live — as Trump has repeatedly been found to spread misinformation and contradict public health officials.

World coronavirus updates: Total cases surge to over 700,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

There are now than more than 700,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins. The virus has now killed more than 32,000 people — with Italy alone reporting over 10,000 deaths.

The big picture: Governments around the world have stepped up public health and economic measures to stop the spread of the virus and soften the financial impact. In the U.S., now the site of the largest outbreak in the world, President Trump said Saturday he would issue a "strong" travel advisory for New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health