Back in March, Facebook revealed that it had been storing passwords from a number of its products in plain text. Though it didn’t give a precise amount, Facebook said that hundreds of millions of passwords were stored improperly across Facebook Lite, Facebook proper, and Instagram. At the time, it said that only “tens of thousands of Instagram users,” were affected by this mishap (Facebook said it intended for its login system to make user passwords unreadable), but today, we’re finding out that the damage as it concerns Instagram is much worse.
Facebook updated its original article today to say that it has discovered “additional logs of Instagram passwords being stored in a readable format.” Again, it doesn’t give any specific numbers, but now it estimates that “millions” of Instagram users had their passwords stored improperly.
It’s worth pointing out that there wasn’t a separate article published to the Facebook Newsroom about this today. Instead, Facebook simply updated its original post that broke news of this problem four weeks ago. Maybe Facebook isn’t attempting to brush this under the rug, but we also can’t blame someone for looking at this month-old alert and thinking that’s the case.
In any every, Facebook says that it will be notifying the owners of the newly discovered Instagram accounts to let them know what’s going on. It also notes that its investigation into this matter “has determined that these stored passwords were not internally abused or improperly accessed.” We’re not sure how comforting that is to someone who’s about to receive an email from Facebook, so take that as you will.
Facebook says that the problem causing these passwords to be stored in a readable format has since been fixed, though its investigation into the matter is clearly ongoing and may uncover even more passwords that were improperly stored. We’ll see if that happens, but for now, those who use Facebook or Instagram might want to change their passwords just to be on the safe side. Between this and revelations that Facebook used to upload users’ email contacts, today is not the best day for social media giant.