The Centre government has asked Facebook to reveal the extent to which the recent hacking might have affected its Indian users. Though the Ministry of Electronics and IT has not sent any legal notice so far, it has raised concerns over one of the biggest hacking attacks on Facebook computer network last week on Friday, which breached over 50 million Facebook accounts, and might have affected accounts of third-party apps linked to Facebook.
The US-based tech giant is still assessing the actual impact of the data breach and has reportedly sought two-day time from the Indian government to apprise it on the impact. The social media giant found out about the attack this week, in which the attackers exploited the 'View As' feature in Facebook's code, which granted users an access to preview their profiles as it would be seen by other users.
This feature is meant to give users more control over their privacy.
Facebook, however, claimed that certain accounts might have been "affected" but not "compromised", which means they might have faced issues while using Facebook's 'View As' feature but their accounts are not vulnerable to further attacks.
"We have asked them about the impact, and they wanted some time for the investigation and have committed to getting back to us with a detailed report by Wednesday morning. We have, however, not sent any formal notice, but have just communicated our concerns to the company," The Economic Times quoted a top official, who requested anonymity, as saying.
The company claims it has fixed the security loophole and alerted law enforcement authorities, but was still investigating the origin or identity of the attackers, and the full scope of the attack.
Facebook logged out around 90 million accounts last week after it announced the hacker attack. The accounts are usually logged out when safety is compromised. "We're taking it really seriously. We have a major security effort at the company that hardens all of our surfaces," said Mark Zuckerberg after the attack was discovered. "I'm glad we found this. But it definitely is an issue that this happened in the first place," he further added.
With over 270 million active Facebook users in India, the biggest market for the US tech giant, the attack could affect the user data on third-party apps, which allows Facebook login to open accounts on their platforms. Some of the famous third-party apps using Facebook login include HealthifyMe, Quora, Zomato, Swiggy, Hotstar, Tinder, BigBasket, among others.
The recent cyber attack on Facebook could further create hurdles in its progress in India, where it has been involved in several controversies, including fake news allegations and 'data sharing'. Facebook-owned WhatsApp is also under attack for causing over 39 incidents of lynching deaths in India this year alone due to mass misinformation on its platform.
Earlier in March, Facebook and the UK-based data analytics company Cambridge Analytica were in the eye of the storm after it was alleged that Cambridge Analytica illegally harvested data of 50 million Facebook users, and used it in helping Donald Trump win the US Presidential elections.
Edited by Manoj Sharma