On 8 March 2019, Friday, Facebook filed a complaint against two Ukrainian hackers, Andrey Gorbachov and Gleb Sluchevsky who are both based in the Ukraine, for violations and operating malicious browser extensions designed to scrape Facebook and other social networking sites.
The Ukrainian hackers apparently used seemingly innocent looking online quizzes and surveys, with titles like "What does your eye color say about you?", to gain access to private Facebook user data and to target users with 'unauthorized' advertisements and then used a Facebook (FB) feature that helped them take control of users' internet browsers and gave them access to private information about Facebook users and their private friends' lists.
The hackers apparently worked for a company called the Web Sun Group based in Ukraine.
FB apparently discovered the operation in October 2018 upon which they suspended the alleged hackers, who it said were operating under false names on the platform. The company also said it informed other companies, including the makers of internet browsers, that the defendants used for the alleged scam.
This is not the first instance of hackers accessing FB for its data. On 13 March 2019, it was reported that US Federal prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into data deals Facebook Inc struck with some of the world's largest technology companies.
In mid 2018, 50 million users’ data of Facebook were confirmed at risk after attackers exploited a vulnerability that allowed them access to personal data. The company also preventively secure 40 million additional accounts out of an abundance of caution. Then there was the Cambridge Analytica affairs where Cambridge allegedly exploited and harvested the personal data of 50 million Facebook profiles without their permission. FB denied that this was a data breach as the data was sold to Cambridge (is this one of the case currently being probed by US Federal regulators as reported?).
For all Facebook users out there, should you be worried about whether your data are being harvested or not?
Do remember that all your information on Facebook, even though you have set it to a private setting, is technically public because it's on your Facebook profile.