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Facebook also admitted this week that it uses phone numbers provided for security purposes to target individuals with ads as well as shadow contact information - data not directly provided by the user but obtained from their "friends" list.

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Experts say the impact could be far-reaching because beyond Facebook, hackers could have accessed any account logged into using Facebook.

Facebook reported a "security issue" affecting "almost 50 million accounts" on 28 September, three days after detecting the problem and starting investigations.

It's already known that hackers have made use a loophole in Facebook and stolen 5 Crore access tokens.

Rosen would not confirm whether the breach was state-backed, but added the hackers "did need a certain level in order for attacker not only get access but to pivot on the access tokens".

Facebook has notified law enforcement authorities about the breach, and has also reset the access tokens of around 90 million users as a precautionary measure. Facebook, which saw revenue of $40.65 billion in 2017, saw revenue for the six months ended June 30 reach $25.2 billion-up 45% from the year-ago period. "The access tokens have been compromised and Facebook has force re-set access token now".

"Users are not required to change their passwords, but people looking to log out of all the various places they're logged into their accounts can do so with a single click through the Security and Login section under the settings menu". In a call with reporters on Friday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg - whose own account was compromised - said that attackers would have had the ability to view private messages or post on someone's account, but there's no sign that they did.

A Facebook Breach Let Hackers Access Tinder, Instagram And Spotify

But the occurrence of a security breach is not enough to warrant a fine, and the new privacy law's fines have yet to be tested. For instance, say you have a Gmail account. Logging out from your account will expire old sessions.

If you were hacked, you'll have been logged out and received notification.

"Because this issue impacted access tokens, it's worth highlighting that these are the equivalent of a username and password combination but are used by applications to authenticate against other applications", said Tim Mackey, senior technical evangelist at Synopsys.

Moreover, you can uninstall the Facebook app and re-install it later, for that will ensure your old authentication tokens are lost.

Hackers could also use the information they stole to defraud you, potentially gaining access to your bank accounts or other important services.

The best way to secure your account is to enable the two-factor authentication system. It does not matter even if you have a two-factor authentication where you have to enter the OTP sent to your mobile to login to Facebook. Possession of those tokens would allow attackers to control those accounts.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

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