Friday, November 22, 2019

Ghaili's Hack story arises a question to Facebook's security claims!

One of the biggest Facebook hack news 2019 is this incident that took place on 30th October at 1 am. This was the time when the famous science communicator Hashem Al-Ghaili received an email from the approved fb security mail (authentic fb mail). The mail notified that his account was recently logged in, using an email and confirmation address. A closer look at this mail made Al-Ghaili realize that this wasn’t his email nor did he recently log in from a new device.


The thing suspicious about this email ID was that it contained his birth year, which meant, the hacker knew something about him. The log in was done through Chrome windows browser. You might be familiar of the fact that when such a notification pops up at your fb page, there are two proceeding options; if the you were the one that logged in then just ignore the mail and if you were not the one behind it, disable your account.

As Ghaili was not the one logging in, he immediately tried to reset the password but the reset link was sent to the new email because the hackers had already changed the email and mobile number. Knowing this, he disabled his account.

What are the risks associated with your Facebook page?

So the point to be noted here is that the time between hack and the disabled account was approximately 15 minutes and in this short period of that time, the hackers had already changed a lot of things.

  • They hackers hacked into the What If account.
  • Removed the admins of the page.
  • Added fake people with fake names and IP addresses in business manicure of the account.
  • Changed email, phone number and other personal information.
The actions listed above show what information is under threat when your Facebook account gets hacked. The most important thing here is that this is the hacking of one of the biggest pages at Facebook, also in partnership with Facebook.

In Ghaili’s case, the account had two accounts associated with it; the editor and the admin. If in case the hackers had also hacked the second account and removed it, the entire page would have been lost. Luckily, this did not happen.

What Facebook needs to improve?

Ghaili states that he immediately contacted the Facebook officials reporting them about the problem within 3 to 5 minutes. Here is the point we all need to ponder at, Facebook responded him with only one email a day. You see, here we are talking about the hack of one of the largest pages on Facebook which has easy contact with the Facebook officials. This is how the hack got responded.

The further investigation was done by Hashem Al-Ghaili himself: 

He found through the IP address that the hack was done at a co-working space in Berlin. Co-working spaces are usually closed at 7 pm and the hack took place at 1am. This shows that the hack was planned to be done after working hours and at a time when probably the world is sleeping. The next thing he identified was that someone he knew worked at that place.

As a matter of fact, hackers change their IP addresses by using VPN, which provides them with a random IP address. Logically, this is not possible that the hacker used VPN for hacking the page because the coincidence of VPN generating the random IP address of a place where someone Ghaili knew worked is not believable. Another proof that this was the place the hack took place was that the co-working place organizes networking events and there, the 4G networks do not work. You know why is that so? This is because they use devices that block 4G signals. When there is no 4G network available , it is natural that people will ask for the Wifi password. The hackers carried out all this hacking process by getting the cookie file of the login from their Wifi network, transferring the cookie file to another computer and then logging in. This is what happened in Ghaili’s case.

The next day, the Inside the Living Cell video maker, Hashem Al Ghaili tried contacting that co-working place himself. He called them and the defensive and severe words of the people who answered the call made it clear that they are not interested in sorting out the issue through dialogue. He sent mails to the people incharge of that place but there was no response. The current status of this hack issue is that he is waiting for the police report on this cybercrime issue. Facebook helped him reverse his account by changing the hackers email with a email that belonged to him. This reversing of account took a week for an account that has partnership with Facebook. Just think about what would be Facebook’s response to a random person’s account hack.

What measures should be taken to prevent a hack?

Facebook hacked, how to fix:
  • Enable the two-factor authentication option of your account. This means that you will be asked to approve the login from a new device through your phone number or app. (Hashem Al-Ghaili said he had not enabled this option in his account before the hack otherwise, this might have helped prevent the hack).
  • Don’t trust everybody with your account details.
  • Use an email for your account that is unpredictable (The credentials should not be your date of birth or any other obvious information).
  • Do keep a stand up email (second email) as a recovery email for your account.
  • Avoid using Wifi at unknown places.
An insight to this hack incident makes us conscious of all the threats our Facebook account faces and what measures can help us stay safe in such a condition. In addition to this, this also makes us alarmed of the Facebook efficiency to solve such security issues as well as how secure a Facebook account is.

Authored By Nabeeha Zahid
"Nabeeha Zahid is a curious one by nature, and her determinations to fulfill that said curiosity has turned her into a sophisticated writer and an excellent researcher. Her interests usually revolve around how the human brain thinks, perceives, interprets and understands, ergo, she likes digging around and writing on how the twisted human psychology works. You can contact her at znabeeha08@gmail.com"





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