New Delhi, April 5, 2021: In a massive data leak, user in a low-level hacking forum on Saturday published the phone numbers and data of 500 million Facebook accounts online.
According to media reports and a cybercrime expert, data of 500 million Facebook accounts that were originally leaked in 2019 has been posted on an online hackers forum according to media reports and a cybercrime expert.
Data of 500 million Facebook accounts, Facebook’s negligence caused data breach
The leaked data of 500 million Facebook accounts included private details such as phone numbers, full names, locations, email addresses, birthdays, and bios. The exposed data includes personal information of over 533 million Facebook users from 106 countries, including over 32 million records on users in the US, 11 million on users in the UK, and 6 million on users in India. It includes their phone numbers, Facebook IDs, full names, locations, birthdates, bios, and in some cases email addresses.
“All 533,000,000 Facebook records were just leaked for free,” Alon Gal, chief technology officer at the Hudson Rock cybercrime intelligence firm, said on Saturday on Twitter. He denounced what he called the “absolute negligence” of Facebook.
Also Read: With WhatsApp forcing its users to share personal data with Facebook, Elon Musk urges people to switch to smaller encrypted messaging apps
Data of 500 million Facebook accounts, verified records partially reveal a user’s phone number
According to a report in Business Insider, some of the data of 500 million Facebook accounts, which were leaked online, appeared to be current, which AFP was unable to confirm independently.
It said some of the leaked phone numbers still belong to the owners of Facebook accounts.
Insider reviewed a sample of the leaked data and verified several records by matching known Facebook users’ phone numbers with the IDs listed in the data set. We also verified records by testing email addresses from the data set in Facebook’s password reset feature, which can be used to partially reveal a user’s phone number.
“This means that if you have a Facebook account, it is extremely likely the phone number used for the account was leaked,” Gal said. However, Facebook said the reports were old news.
Old data can still be used for scamming
While a company spokesperson said that “We found and fixed this issue in August 2019” the leaked data could provide valuable information to cybercriminals who use people’s personal information to impersonate them or scam them into handing over login credentials.
“Bad actors will certainly use the information for social engineering, scamming, hacking and marketing,” Gal said on Twitter.
Data breach puts Facebook in tough waters again
This is not the first time leaks or use of data from the world’s largest social network with nearly two billion users has embroiled Facebook in controversy.
In 2016, a scandal around Cambridge Analytica, a British consulting firm that used millions of Facebook users’ data to target political ads, cast a shadow over the social network and its handling of private information. Data leaks threaten to undermine Facebook’s business model of gathering a large amount of personal information and using that to sell targeted ads.