Facebook Buys Leaked Passwords on the Internet to Ensure Data Security

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Internet security has always been a major concern for the stakeholders in this digital era. Billions of users are active on different social media sites which involve their credentials, personal information, personal messages and pictures. To keep the users’ accounts safe, Facebook is reportedly buying leaked passwords from the underground black market. Facebook is working round the clock to ensure users’ security and avoid hacking or data breach. It is undeniable that data breach is highly prevalent over the internet and has already affected many top notch companies.

Facebook has now over 1.71 billion monthly active users, worldwide. The company has to manage the data of each and every user along with ensuring their accounts’ security. Re-using an old password and choosing weak passwords such as ‘12345’ and ‘password’ make the users more vulnerable to hacking. Facebook is keen on helping its users to avoid these issues by building attack-proof software. The leaked passwords traded in black markets show that many users choose weak passwords.

How the Stolen Passwords Will Help Facebook In Improving Security

Facebook is buying the stolen passwords to cross-reference them with encrypted passwords used on its site. It then notifies tens of millions of users that their passwords are weak and should be changed to protect their accounts. Moreover, Facebook provides tools to its users for tightening up their account’s security and maintaining privacy. Some of these tools are two-factor authentication, identifying faces of friends, and machine learning algorithms to keep a check over fraudulent activities on users’ accounts.

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None are Safe From Hackers

While Facebook is doing everything possible to secure their users’ accounts, several hackers continue to keep trying to hack the same. Leave alone ordinary people, even the Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s account wasn’t spared. Sometimes the hackers even succeed in hacking millions and billions of accounts from different sites.

Earlier this year, a hacker put up about 117 million Linkedin users’ account details including emails and passwords for sale, which he hacked way back in 2012. Moreover, back in September, there were reports of over a large 1 billion Yahoo accounts being hacked. Similarly, earlier this year, 272.3 million email accounts were stolen and traded in Russia’s criminal underworld. These included 40 million Yahoo accounts, 33 million Microsoft Hotmail accounts, and 24 million Google accounts.

Not just this, back in 2014, hackers exposed 500 million Yahoo user accounts, but the company did not inform its users even though they were aware of the incident. It was a huge mistake for the company to prioritise their reputation than their users’ safety.

Facebook has been continuously taking every possible measure to protect its users, even though the company has managed to avoid any security issues.

There is a difference between security and safety. Our team can build perfectly secure software and yet people can get hurt, said Alex Stamos, Facebook CSO.

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Internet Users to Take Note

Account security is in the hands of a company, but account safety depends majorly on the users and their browsing behaviour. The users must be aware of the factors that lead to issues like data breach or hacking or virus attacks, and should strictly avoid them to keep their accounts safe. Some of the ways to keep accounts safe are as follows:

  • Regularly updating the operating system and web browser as the previous versions might not be as effective as the newer ones in tackling the hackers.
  • Installing firewall in the system to avoid unauthorised access and to check data inflow from the internet.
  • Changing passwords more often and choosing strong and long passwords.
  • Purchasing or downloading anti-virus software that suits the system. Virus prone systems are highly vulnerable to hacking.
  • Not clicking and deleting emails from unknown sources, as it is a very common way of spreading the virus into systems.
  • Avoid connecting to unknown Wi-Fi connections.

Cyber security firms, government, and companies are rigorously working towards making the internet a safer place for the users. But make no mistake, hackers might always find a way to beat the cyber security system. We all must be very careful while browsing the internet, taking all the necessary steps and precautions to avoid being a victim of any sort of cyber crime.

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