Should Facebook’s Latest Close Call Stop Bank Partnerships?

Facebook’s latest admission that it was nearly the victim of a malicious cyber attack should send a clear message to banks and financial services companies: Don’t work too closely with the social network.

The Menlo Park, Calif. company has been eager to work with payment networks and others in order to expand its reach into people’s wallets.

Here are the details, via TechCrunch:

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.

To date, Facebook has managed to keep what is possibly the world’s largest repository of private information from falling into the wrong hands. Its fellow social networks haven’t been as successful. Twitter most recently saw 250,000 accounts accessed by hackers, and last year the passwords for 6.5 million LinkedIn accounts were stolen and published online.

But there’s a huge difference between those social networks getting hacked, and someone getting into your Facebook account. Most data on Twitter and LinkedIn is public by default. Sure there are direct messages, or the few misguided souls who keep their profiles locked down. On Facebook, though, privacy is the default. That means Facebook has a lot more to lose from getting hacked.

Banks and regulators would be smart to notice that the sheer size of the Facebook’s nervous system makes it vulnerable to such attacks. And that should stop executives from ever trusting any customer data with the company.

Do you agree?

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