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It’s not if, but when. Between crooks, hackers and foreign governments, Facebook probably can’t avoid a serious user data breach forever. When it happens, Facebook may never be able to quiet fears that “personal data isn’t safe there.” That could cause a chilling effect on sharing, jeopardize its future in commerce, and cut short its lifetime.
This isn’t to say Facebook’s not doing everything in its power to prevent this. It has a sizable security team of top talent, infiltrates hacker rings to thwart their schemes, and offers cash bounties to white hats who identify bugs or holes.
Yesterday, though, Facebook announced something very unsettling. A “sophisticated attack” uploaded malware onto the computers of several Facebook engineers when they visited a hacked mobile developer site. Facebook quickly quarantined and scrubbed the devices, called the police, and kicked off an investigation. So far, there’s been no evidence that any user data had been compromised. Perhaps the attackers were after Facebook’s trade secrets or information about partners. Regardless, it was a very close call.