By Steve Pope | October 3, 2018
Responding to last month’s recent Facebook data breach that affected over 50 million users, Attorney General Josh Shapiro on Wednesday cautioned Pennsylvanians to secure their online profiles and monitor their credit.
The breach, which occurred on September 25 and was announced on September 28, was the largest in Facebook’s 14-year history. The hackers reportedly exploited a feature in Facebook’s code to gain access to user accounts and potentially take control of them.
In a statement released today, Mr. Shapiro promised to fully investigate the breach and determine its impact on Pennsylvania residents. “As my Bureau of Consumer Protection digs into this latest data breach at Facebook and investigates its impact on users across our Commonwealth, Pennsylvanians should take steps to protect themselves,” Mr. Shapiro said.
He urged Facebook users to log out of their accounts, change their passwords and, never give money or personal information to anyone requesting it online or over the phone.
After the discovery of the hack last week, Facebook logged out more than 90 million users, forcing them to log back in with their credentials to avoid further access to any sensitive information by hackers.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said last week that the company is continuing its investigation into the source of the hack and what information was accessed during the breach.
Attorney General Shapiro provided the following tips for consumers on how to protect themselves from identity theft or other harm related to this type of hack:
- Do not give money, financial or personal information to anyone requesting it through Facebook or another online social media platform without first independently verifying, preferably in-person, the identity of the individual and their reason for needing the information.
- Always log out of Facebook when not in use.
- Change your password, make sure it is strong and continue to change it every six months.
- Enable log-in notifications in your profile settings to alert you any time a log-in occurs from a new device.
- Do not accept friend requests from people you do not know. Even if you do know the individual, the profile could be fake.
- Monitor your credit card, banking and other financial statements as you receive them for any suspicious charges.
- Monitor your credit report by visiting the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You can access your report for free once a year at each bureau.
In March, Mr. Shapiro and 41 state Attorneys General sent a letter to Zuckerberg demanding answers concerning a similar breach that affected over 50 million Facebook users. It was later determined that close to 3 million Pennsylvania resident’s Facebook data was shared with Cambridge Analytica and other third parties.
Steve Pope can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org