As one of the largest sites on the internet, there’s no doubt that Facebook is a prime target for hackers. It looks like some of those hackers were apparently successful — Facebook has just admitted that its systems were targeted last month in a “sophisticated attack.”
“Last month, Facebook security discovered that our systems had been targeted in a sophisticated attack,” the company said in a blog post. “The attack occurred when a handful of employees visited a mobile developer website that was compromised.”
Facebook says that these employees then had malware installed on their laptops as a result of their visiting the web site. The hack used what is called a “zero-day Java exploit,” a well-known vulnerability in Oracle’s software which has gained much attention in recent months. Essentially, anyone visiting a website using this attack who also has Oracle’s Java enabled in their browser was vulnerable. As a result, hackers inserted malware onto the laptops of multiple Facebook employees.
“As soon as we discovered the presence of malware, we remediated all infected machines, informed law enforcement, and began a significant investigation that continues to this day,” the post read.
In the company’s post, Facebook notes that it had “found no evidence that Facebook user data was compromised.”
Facebook directly points to the zero-day exploit, which takes advantage of Oracle’s Java vulnerability, as the root cause of the attack. While Twitter did not detail the exact methods of how its systems were infiltrated, Twitter director of information security Bob Lord reminded users that security experts strongly recommend turning off the problematic Java inside of their browsers.
Facebook was not alone in this attack. It is clear that others were attacked and infiltrated recently as well. As one of the first companies to discover this malware, we immediately took steps to start sharing details about the infiltration with the other companies and entities that were affected. We plan to continue collaborating on this incident through an informal working group and other means.