Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

13.47 25 Apr 2019


Share this article


The Data Protection Commission has launched a statutory inquiry into Facebook after it emerged the social network stored passwords in unencrypted format.

In March, it emerged that hundreds of millions of Facebook passwords were kept in plain text on the company's internal data storage systems.

Typically, passwords are stored in an encrypted format - meaning the passwords are masked so that nobody, even Facebook staff, can read them.

The process of 'hashing' and 'salting' passwords means encrypted ones can be kept and validated without being stored in plain text format.

However, a security review earlier this year found that passwords were being stored in a readable format by Facebook - in theory meaning they could be more easily accessed.

The company stressed there was no evidence the passwords had been "internally abused or improperly accessed".

Initial numbers revealed hundreds of millions of Facebook and Facebook Lite users were impacted, alongside tens of thousands of Instagram users.

Facebook - whose European headquarters is based in Dublin - later admitted the Instagram figure was too low, saying millions of passwords were impacted.

In a statement today, the Data Protection Commission confirmed it's investigating the issue.

The commission said: "We have this week commenced a statutory inquiry in relation to this issue to determine whether Facebook has complied with its obligations under relevant provisions of the GDPR."

Last year, a separate statutory inquiry into Facebook was launched after the commission received a number of "breach notifications".

If a company is found in breach of GDPR rules by a statutory inquiry, the Data Protection Commission has 'corrective powers' such as issuing fines or a "temporary or definitive ban on processing or a suspension of international data transfers".

Main image: File photo of Facebook app and the Facebook website. Picture by: Jaap Arriens/SIPA USA/PA Images

Share this article


Read more about

Data Protection Facebook Password

Most Popular

Live: Title

Now playing

00:00:00 / 00:00:00
Added to queue
Removed from queue

On Air

Share

Share


Up next

Episode title
Show
Duration

You currently have no podcasts in your queue.

Go to podcasts

On Air

Splanc

Splanc

22:00-00:00

Share

Up next

BEST OF NEWSTALK

BEST OF NEWSTALK

00:00-08:00

Share

Election Special

Election Special

08:00-13:00

Share

OFF THE BALL

OFF THE BALL

13:00-17:00

Share

Election Special

Election Special

17:00-19:00

Share

SOUNDSCAPE

SOUNDSCAPE

19:00-20:00

Share

BETWEEN THE LINES WITH ANDREA...

BETWEEN THE LINES WITH ANDREA GILLIGAN

20:00-21:00

Share

DOCUMENTARY AND DRAMA ON NEWST...

DOCUMENTARY AND DRAMA ON NEWSTALK

21:00-22:00

Share

BEST OF THE PAT KENNY SHOW

BEST OF THE PAT KENNY SHOW

22:00-23:00

Share

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Share on