European regulators are awaiting details from Facebook regarding last week’s data breach involving an estimated 50 million Facebook users.
Last week, Facebook notified the public that three vulnerabilities found within its video uploader tool allowed hackers to exploit access tokens belonging to 50 million user accounts. What makes the incident even more complicated is that these tokens not only allow hackers access to individuals Facebook accounts, they also allow hackers access to other related applications that users used Facebook to log in with.
The establishment of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requires the firm to disclose the breach within a 72-hour window of discovering the incident, a timeline that Facebook claims to have successfully met.
The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC), Facebook’s lead supervisory authority in the region, is waiting to be briefed by Facebook with specific details on EU users that have been affected. The UK’s ICO is also pressing the firm to quickly clarify the nature of the incident and risk to its customers.
ICO Deputy Commissioner of Operations, James Dipple-Johnston claims, “It’s always the company’s responsibility to identify when UK citizens have been affected as part of a data breach and take steps to reduce any harm to consumers.” Facebook says it is fully cooperating with these institutions and will share more specific details as soon as they have it.
Facebook has experienced its fair share of breaches in the past, but the GDPR changes everything. If found to have violated the rule, the firm could face fines of up to four percent its annual revenue, a staggering $4 billion.
No one has accused Facebook of negligence yet, but it’s important to note that the three vulnerabilities used in this attack had been left undiscovered since a July 2017 update introduced them. Under the GDPR, the question of blame largely hinges on whether the company was negligent, ignoring basic cybersecurity practices that could have prevented the breach. This two to three-month time period could have lawmakers thinking twice about their decision.