50 million Facebook accounts breached, why Indian users should care

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  • The data breach of 50 million Facebook accounts can potentially have a huge impact on India, where it has its largest user base.
  • Aside from just Facebook accounts, there’s a risk that third-party apps that use Facebook Connect to login may have been breached as well.
  • Some of India’s most popular apps like Zomato, BigBasket, Quora, Dominos and Hotstar use Facebook Connect as their user authorisation method.
It’s concerning that while Facebook made a statement about 50 million Facebook accounts being hacked and that another 40 million were at risk, they haven’t shared any information about the kind of data that has been stolen.

With Facebook’s largest user base in India, with 270 million accounts, Indian users have a lot to be worried about. Not just in terms of their account on the social networking platform but all the apps on their phone that use Facebook to log in.

The country’s IT ministry has already asked the US-firm to share details on the country-specific impact of the breach. According to sources at PTI, Facebook has stated that they’re currently in the process of sharing ‘preliminary information’ with the government.

Risk to other sites

Facebook Connect, when it was launched back in 2008, it was intending to be a to a convenient tool for both businesses and users, where Facebook would serve as the conduit. In just a few taps, users could now use their Facebook login and passwords to access any app.

Some of the most popular apps in India like the food delivery app Zomato, Hostar and SonyLIV for video streaming and Quora use Facebook to enable login. This especially concerning since users have the option of saving their card details on apps like Zomato, Dominos and BigBasket to make frequent payments.

Though Facebook hasn’t said anything on the third-party app breaches, the stolen 'access tokens' can potentially be used to gain access to other sites, provided an account has been previously authorised.

While it’s uncertain how the Indian government will address the matter, Facebook could potentially face a fine of $1.63 million in the European Union.
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