What you should do after the September 2018 Facebook Hack

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 29, 2018
Companies, Facebook

Facebook revealed on September 28, 2018 that attackers managed to exploit a vulnerability on the site that allowed them to take over accounts of Facebook users.

The issue, which affected about 50 million Facebook accounts and potentially 50 million more, used a vulnerability in Facebook's "View As" feature that allows Facebook users to view their profile pages as another user.

Facebook users need to select the "three dots" menu on their profile page and select the "View As" option displayed as an option when they do.

facebook hack view as

The company turned the feature for now. A notification is displayed to you that the feature has been disabled for the time being.

"Preview My Profile" Disabled

The "Preview My Profile" feature is temporarily disabled. Please try again later.

The attackers managed to obtain access tokens which allow anyone to access an account even without supplying a password.

Facebook's analysis is ongoing at this point in time. The company reacted fast and reset access tokens for affected accounts (nearly 50 million'), and reset access tokens for another 40 million accounts that interacted with View As in the past year.

Investigators have not determined yet whether accounts were misused or if information was accessed. The company plans to update the official security update post on its website once it has more information.

What you may want to do

The attackers managed to gain access to access tokens only. That is why Facebook does not recommend to users to change account passwords as the attackers never got hold of account passwords.

The resetting of the access token blocks access to the Facebook account for anyone who is trying to access it using the old access token.

Facebook displays a login prompt for affected users and a new sign-in to the account generates a new access token that is used from that point on forward.

Facebook users affected by the issue receive a notification about the incident on the next sign-in.

Still, there are some things that you may want to do:

1. Check the last logins

facebook security login

Go to https://www.facebook.com/settings?tab=security&section=sessions&view and check the devices and locations listed under "where you're logged in".

Make sure that you only see devices and locations there that match your activity. Do the following if you suspect that a logged in session may be by a third-party:

  1. Click on the three dots on the right of that particular session.
  2. Select Log Out from the menu.

If you want to start clean, select "log out of all sessions" instead to block any device listed there but the active one from using the access token to access Facebook.

2. Precautions

facebook security

Facebook supports options to better secure an account.

  • Get Alerts about unrecognized logins -- Facebook notifies you when it notices logins from devices or browsers that you have not used in the past. Make sure that this is on.
  • Authorized Logins -- Check the list of devices where you won't have to use a login code. Remove any device or browser on the list that you don't use anymore or don't have access to.
  • Two-factor authentication -- Adds an extra layer of protection to the account. It was discovered recently, however, that Facebook will use the phone number for advertising purposes (advertisers upload lists of phone numbers, and if your phone number is on that list, you will be served ads from that advertiser).

You may also want to be extra careful when it comes to emails or phone calls if you have been affected by the issue. If attackers gained access to the account, they had access to emails, your name, and other personal information that they might use in target phishing or social engineering attacks.

What you should do after the September 2018 Facebook Hack
Article Name
What you should do after the September 2018 Facebook Hack
Facebook revealed on September 28, 2018 that attackers managed to exploit a vulnerability on the site that allowed them to take over accounts of Facebook users.
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  1. The Dark Lady said on July 9, 2023 at 11:19 am

    Martin, I would appreciate that you do not censor this post, as it’s informative writing.

    Onur, there is a misleading statement “[…] GIFs are animated images …”. No, obviously you don’t seem to have take much notice of what you were told back in March regarding; Graphics Interchange Format (GIF).

    For example, https://www.ghacks.net/2023/03/31/whats-gif-explanation-and-how-to-use-it/#comment-4562919 (if you had read my replies within that thread, you might have learnt something useful). I even mentioned, “GIF intrinsically supports animated images (GIF89a)”.

    You linked to said article, [Related: …] within this article, but have somehow failed to take onboard what support you were given by several more knowledgeable people.

    If you used AI to help write this article, it has failed miserably.

    1. E. Fromme said on September 29, 2023 at 1:32 pm

      EMRE ÇITAK posts are useless because they are fraught with inaccuracies and are irrelevant.

  2. KeZa said on August 17, 2023 at 5:58 pm

    AI is stupid, and it will not get any better if we really know how this all works. Prove me wrong.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IYl1sTIOHI

  3. Database failure said on August 18, 2023 at 5:21 pm

    Martin, [#comment-4569908] is only meant to be in: [https://www.ghacks.net/2023/07/09/how-to-send-gifs-on-iphone-two-different-ways/]. Whereas it appears duplicated in several recent random low-quality non relevant articles.

    Obviously it [#comment-4569908] was posted: 9 July 2023. Long before this thread even existed… your database is falling over. Those comments are supposed to have unique ID values. It shouldn’t be possible to duplicate the post ID, if the database had referential integrity.

  4. Howard Pearce said on August 25, 2023 at 12:24 pm

    Don’t tell me!

    Ghacks wants the state to step in for STATE-MANDATED associations to save jobs!!!

    Bring in the dictatorship!!!

    And screw Rreedom of Association – too radical for Ghacks maybe

  5. Howard Allan Pearce said on September 7, 2023 at 9:13 am

    GateKeeper ?

    That’s called “appointing” businesses to do the state’s dirty work!!!!!

    But the article says itself that those appointed were not happy – implying they had not choice!!!!!!

  6. owl said on September 7, 2023 at 9:50 am

    @The Dark Lady,
    @Database failure,
    @Howard Pearce,
    @Howard Allan Pearce,

    Note: I replaced the quoted URI scheme: https:// with “>>” and posted.

    The current ghacks.net is owned by “Softonic International S.A.” (sold by Martin in October 2019), and due to the fate of M&A, ghacks.net has changed in quality.
    >> ghacks.net/2023/09/02/microsoft-is-removing-wordpad-from-windows/#comment-4573130
    Many Authors of bloggers and advertisers certified by Softonic have joined the site, and the site is full of articles aimed at advertising and clickbait.
    >> ghacks.net/2023/08/31/in-windows-11-the-line-between-legitimate-and-adware-becomes-increasingly-blurred/#comment-4573117
    As it stands, except for articles by Martin Brinkmann, Mike Turcotte, and Ashwin, they are low quality, unhelpful, and even vicious. It is better not to read those articles.
    How to display only articles by a specific author:
    Added line to My filters in uBlock Origin: ghacks.net##.hentry,.home-posts,.home-category-post:not(:has-text(/Martin Brinkmann|Mike Turcotte|Ashwin/))
    >> ghacks.net/2023/09/01/windows-11-development-overview-of-the-august-2023-changes/#comment-4573033

    By the way, if you use an RSS reader, you can track exactly where your comments are (I’m an iPad user, so I use “Feedly Classic”, but for Windows I prefer the desktop app “RSS Guard”).
    RSS Guard: Feed reader which supports RSS/ATOM/JSON and many web-based feed services.
    >> github.com/martinrotter/rssguard#readme

  7. Anonymous said on September 14, 2023 at 6:41 pm

    We all live in digital surveillance glass houses under scrutiny of evil people because of people like Musk. It’s only fair that he takes his turn.

  8. Anonymous said on September 18, 2023 at 1:31 pm

    “Operating systems will be required to let the user choose the browser, virtual assistant and search engine of their choice. Microsoft cannot force users to use Bing or Edge. Apple will have to open up its iOS operating system to allow third-party app stores, aka allow sideloading of apps. Google, on the other hand, will need to provide users with the ability to uninstall preloaded apps (bloatware) from Android devices. Online services will need to allow users to unsubscribe from their platform easily. Gatekeepers need to provide interoperability with third-parties that offer similar services.”

    Wonderful ! Let’s hope they’ll comply with that law more than they are doing with the GDPR.

  9. sean conner said on September 27, 2023 at 6:21 am
  10. Sherry Grant said on September 29, 2023 at 7:47 pm

    What does this article about Musk/Tesla have to do with computing, devices, phones?
    More irelevant filler.

  11. Anonymous said on September 29, 2023 at 8:47 pm

    yeah sure… they are always the victims and it is only against them ????

    Believe them 100% and never question anything. This lawsuit sounds like the type you heard when people were eating batteries.

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