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Up to 50 million Facebook users affected by software breach

(Patrick Sison, Associated Press)

MENLO PARK, CALIFORNIA – Up to 50 million Facebook users may have had their accounts compromised and tech analysts say this is a good reason for everyone to change their passwords.

The problem was reportedly a weakness in the code for the social media site’s “View As” feature.  A hacker got access to the cookies being used by that feature.  Even though 50 million accounts may have been attacked, Facebook forced up to 90 million users to log off.

Pete Ashdown, President of XMission, was one of them.

“Facebook, with over a billion users, is a huge target and people are testing their security, all the time,” Ashdown says.

It’s too soon to know if any real problems will happen to the users who have been compromised.  Ashdown says, “Facebook isn’t being forthcoming as to whether it really damaged anyone, or not.  They just noticed the access and forced everyone to log on again.”

Ashdown recommends people do more than just change their passwords.

“I always recommend people use pass phrases and they change them at least once a year,” er says.

Pass phrases are different that passwords because they’re longer and harder for hackers to crack.  Ashdown says they don’t have to be complicated, but they need to be long.  For instance, someone with kids could use “Ilovemychildrenalot.”

Ashdown also says people should use two-factor authentication.  It requires users download an app on their phone that creates new codes on a regular basis, and that code is then required to log onto Facebook.

“Google has a thing called ‘Authenticator.’  It’s a free app.  There’s another app that I like called ‘Authy.’”