Up to a few days ago, I always received Facebook auth tokens from numbers +181338477XX, except a few times from +85294985XXX.

Problem is that lately I've been receiving codes directly from Italian numbers, which wouldn't be strange since I'm located in Italy, but there are two odd things:

1. they are much much slower than before, i.e. may take easily 2~15 minutes, while before they were instant

2. they are badly formatted, not exactly with spelling mistakes like the typical phishing mail, but oddly they add random characters in the text (examples follow)

Regular message:

  • Il tuo codice di sicurezza di Facebook: XXXXXX

Odd messages:

  • +393460286641 Il,tuo codice'di sicurezza di Facebook: XXXXXX
  • +393774919485 Il tuo codice di,sicurezza_di Facebook: XXXXXX'
  • +393428446457 Il tuo codice,di sicurezza di Facebook: XXXXXX,
  • +393385643500 Il tuo,codice di sicurezza_di Facebook: XXXXXX.
  • +393806332520 Il,tuo codice,di sicurezza di Facebook: XXXXXX

edit for some new SMS:

  • +393455720151 Usa 033985'come_password per Facebook Messenger for.Android.
  • +393402647316 Usa 033985 come password'per Facebook Messenger for Android._
  • +393456388686 Usa 808589 come password per Facebook for Android.'
  • +393484224323 Usa 808589 come password per.Facebook for.Android.

(these are different because it's not the web login but the Android app logins, but still weird characters appear)

I have two phone numbers bound to that FB account. Previously I logged only the message of one of those phones. Now instead o logged them on both phones, and it is interesting to notice how even the "same" message was corrupted in different ways.

The first odd thing is those random characters (so far ,,',_,.) either between two words or at the end of the string, and the second odd thing is that the phone numbers are always totally different, while before they were using only two "main" numbers, with many "sub" numbers (pardon the made-up terms).

I'm totally clueless about who could do such a thing such as hijacking SMSs, why corrupt the messages this way, and why do that and not use it: i.e. looking at the logins, authorised devices, etc. there wasn't anything unusual.

A final oddity has happened the first time we received such a message: there are two phones bound for these auth tokens, and only one of those received the strange message, while the other one received the correct one (both were delayed, though).

  • I can't find any official list of phone numbers FB is using for their 2FA, but that might be beyond the point, as spoofing Sender ID with arbitrary alphanumeric text isn't all that difficult. I can't prove it either way with the information you provide and access I have (which probably goes the same for anyone here except @JeffFerland), but you say it yourself everything else seems legit besides the strange formatting, so I doubt it's an attack. And it wouldn't be the first time FB has problems with 2FA either (check comments).
    – TildalWave
    Jun 28, 2013 at 9:20
  • 3
    Facebook recently had an account hijacking vulnerability reported to them, exploiting their SMS service. Worth having a look if it is related with your issue. grahamcluley.com/2013/06/hack-facebook-sms
    – Moustache
    Jun 28, 2013 at 15:28
  • @Moustache while it's somehow related, it's not that, since the connected phone numbers and the approved devices are the correct ones, apparently...
    – o0'.
    Jun 28, 2013 at 15:42
  • 3
    I'm working on finding an answer to this. Given it's the end of this week and a major American holiday is next week, it may take a while to discover.
    – Jeff Ferland
    Jun 29, 2013 at 0:35
  • 1
    Just checking in to let you know this is still winding its way through, but at least I've got the right person on it now.
    – Jeff Ferland
    Jul 8, 2013 at 19:07

1 Answer 1


The sms vulnerability reported to Facebook was something else as far as I saw, it uses the Facebook's response to unregistered numbers to receive an unused confirmation code to reset password of other users...

If you are using an Android device, I strongly suggest you should check your mobile for any malicious applications. While I was doing some research on Mobile security, I came across some applications that could steal information from device. This happens when you install application from third-party sites other than Google Play. Some of them are really strong that, they are capable of even updating themselves while an upgrade of OS is made (eg: JB-KitKat)

I am not sure about the possibility of MITM, because, who in the hell want to intercept a response code and add weirdness to the message? And even if someone is intercepting you, they wont just send those messages to you because from my belief, once a token is used it expires, so if they use it, you wont be able to use it.

My opinion is that, every now or then FB makes roll outs , try new features, They might had tried some kind of localization on the sms/login-token features.

If only one of your phone numbers have only this problem, you may also have to consider the possibility of a fault from service provider.

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