CLAIMS Facebook was hacked on Monday 4 October have appeared online as it was alleged personal data of 1.5 billion users’ appeared on a hackers’ forum.
This had the potential to let cybercriminals and unscrupulous advertisers to plunder the personal details of people from across the globe.
Were Facebook and WhatsApp hacked?
According to the data privacy website PrivacyAffairs, a user of a known hacker forum posted an announcement claiming to possess the personal data of more than 1.5 billion Facebook users.
The information was up for sale.
One prospective buyer claimed to have been quoted £3,700 for the data of a million Facebook user accounts.
The data allegedly included users’ name, email, location, gender, phone number and user ID.
The allegations emerged coincidently with the outage of Facebook and platforms it owns, Instagram and WhatsApp, although there is nothing to suggest the two are linked.
All three platforms, which are owned by Facebook, were forced to confirm on rival service Twitter that they were working to fix the global outage.
What happened to Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp?
Rumours were circulating online that Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram had been hacked as one joker has mockingly placed the site up for sale for $1 billion on a classified ad site.
Scott Helme, a cybersecurity expert, told the BBC the outage did not just affect Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.
He said: "The impact of this is much wider than not being able to go on Facebook.
"We’ve also been to websites and seen things like the log in with Facebook button which currently doesn’t work.
"So, even completely unrelated services and websites are currently struggling because features that depend on Facebook are also not working."
"It seems like somebody actually needs to go to the servers to fix this."
He added: "It is not a particularly good look when you have to go to rival social media companies [like Twitter] to liaise."
Meanwhile, another spoof ad offered Facebook's domain name up for sale at $8 billion with the words "inquiry now and Facebook could be yours".
Doug Madory, director of internet analysis for Kentik Inc, a network monitoring and intelligence company, said: "This is epic.
"The last major internet outage, which knocked many of the world's top websites offline in June, lasted less than an hour.
"The stricken content-delivery company in that case, Fastly, blamed it on a software bug triggered by a customer who changed a setting."
"This is epic… the last major internet outage, which knocked many of the world's top websites offline in June, lasted less than an hour
Regarding the internal failures, Instagram head Adam Mosseri tweeted that it "feels like a snow day".
But the impact was far worse for many of Facebook's nearly three billion users, showing just how much the world has come to rely on the service.
A lot of users rely on the site to run businesses, connect with communities of affinity, log on to multiple other websites – and even to order food.
What have Facebook said?
Responding to the site's alleged data breach, a Facebook spokesman said: "We’re investigating this claim and have sent a takedown request to the forum that’s advertising the alleged data."
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