Facebook may not be seeking world domination (just yet), but they are seeking some cybersecurity support in the form of a big acquisition—and for good reason. The social media demigod has had a rough go as of late, with their recent hack compromising the data of over 30 million users (slightly lower than the initial report of 50 million), none of whom were very happy with the situation—or their overexposed social profiles. And as a result of this, and several other disturbing data-related situations, CEO extraordinaire, Mark Zuckerberg, is now placing a want ad for a cybersecurity playmate with an excellent safe word.
This move into the world of security could give Facebook the credibility it needs in certain circles to continue business as usual, not to mention it could alleviate a lot of their overall user dissatisfaction. This most recent fallout has brought heavy criticism on Zuckerberg and his minions, a reality that would be largely mitigated by a security acquisition of this kind. It certainly demonstrates his commitment to increased data protection. As a public relations move, it would definitely accomplish a lot more than hiring just another fat cat executive who likely won’t be able to handle the real problem of today’s cyber attack.
Through the hack, cybercriminals gained extremely sensitive information of over 15 million people, like gender, religion, home location, device information, personal images—and in many cases the name of the user’s spouse, which also exposed that person’s data as well. When patched together using the devious nature of a true hacker, this type of data can lead to some serious breaches of a person’s financials and their day-to-day activities. In other words, the craftier the criminal, the crazier the attack—and this Facebook breach certainly gave them plenty to work with.
Even though Facebook investigators have claimed that spammers, not bonafide hackers from other nations, were responsible for the breach, there’s no way to really know if this is true. According to reports, the spammers fooled Facebook into believing they were digital marketers, when in reality they were hackers—ahem, spammers, who exploited a coding error in Facebook’s “view as” feature to steal data.
Aside from being an excellent public relations move, absorbing a cybersecurity firm into their massive infrastructure could actually make Facebook a safer place for everyone involved, including billions of users and investors. And let’s not forget, Facebook is now on the hook to abide by the E.U.’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and do everything in their power to protect the privacy of citizens, or face a massive financial penalty. Not only will Facebook need to boost their security measures, but they will need to be more prompt with their reporting of any breaches, fully disclosing all pertinent information like scale of attack, people affected, data lost, and actions taken to resolve the issue.
Facebook has been the first to admit security is not really their thing. This past July, when announcing some other problematic information-based issues, the company itself said, “security is not something that ever done. We face determined, well-funded adversaries who will never give up and are constantly changing tactics. It’s an arms race and we need to constantly improve too.” Yes, indeed. Facebook is having a small come to Jesus with their own mortality and their need for digital transformation.
According to reports, Facebook has recently approached “multiple” big name security companies about a possible relationship; however, they are staying tight-lipped about who their dream date might be. That said, a partnership will likely be announced by the end of the year.
If you are curious about whether your own Facebook profile was recently hacked, you can check the status of that here.