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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.

Go deeper

Woman who allegedly stole laptop from Pelosi's office to sell to Russia is arrested

Photo: FBI

A woman accused of breaching the Capitol and planning to sell to Russia a laptop or hard drive she allegedly stole from Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office was arrested in Pennsylvania's Middle District Monday, the Department of Justice said.

Driving the news: Riley June Williams, 22, is charged with illegally entering the Capitol as well as violent entry and disorderly conduct. She has not been charged over the laptop allegation and the case remains under investigation, per the DOJ.

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID-related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.