'Digital hygiene' urged after Facebook admits storing passwords in plain text

Dexter Ganibe, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 22 2019 07:32 PM | Updated as of Mar 22 2019 08:00 PM

MANILA - A privacy official on Friday urged Filipino social media users to practice "digital hygiene" after Facebook admitted to storing passwords in a readable format.

Facebook on Thursday admitted that millions of passwords, stored in plain text on its internal servers, were exposed to its employees. 

Privacy Commissioner Raymund Liboro said those who received a notification from Facebook should change their passwords immediately and enable multi-factor authentication.

"The storage of Facebook passwords in plain text needlessly exposed people to risk. Passwords that are stored in plain text are more easily and readily stolen by those who intend harm, they may even be compromised by accident," Liboro said.

The National Privacy Commission already sought more information from Facebook's privacy and public policy manager for Asia Pacific Arianne Jimenez, Liboro said. 

So far, there was no evidence that anyone had internally abused or improperly accessed the data set, he said. 

But the commissioner said "there is little comfort in knowing that the world’s largest repository of personal data practices such lax internal controls."

In 2018, Facebook also revealed that the Philippines accounted for 1.2 million out of the 87 million people whose data "may have been improperly shared" with Cambridge Analytica.