Facebook just can’t seem to catch a break. It lost much respect in the past four years because of its policy of liberally sharing user data. Users and the U.S. Congress held CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s feet to the fire. Over the weekend, it was discovered that Facebook data belonging to 533 million users was leaked.
Huge Facebook Data Leak
On Saturday, the leaked Facebook data was published to what has been called a “low-level” hacking forum. This personal information included phone numbers, Facebook IDs, full names, locations, birthdates, bios, and email addresses. This data was from more than 32 million records on U.S. users, 11 million on U.K. users, and 6 million users in India.
A sample of the data was viewed and verified by Business Insider. Known Facebook user IDs were matched to the phone numbers. Facebook’s password reset feature was used to test the email addresses.
The data was stolen using a vulnerability that was patched two years ago, according to a Facebook spokesperson.
CTO Alon Gal of Hudson Rock, a cybercrime intelligence company, was the first to find the leaked Facebook data. Gal said despite being older data, it was, of course, still a worthwhile effort for the hackers. Stolen data is routinely used to impersonate the victims or scam them.
Gal added, “A database of that size containing the private information, such as phone numbers of a lot of Facebook’s users, would certainly lead to bad actors taking advantage of the data to perform social engineering attacks [or] hacking attempts.”
Interest in this data was first raised in January in the same hacker forum. A user mentioned millions of Facebook users’ phone numbers could be obtained from a bot for the right price. There is no longer a price attached, as the entire trove of information was posted to the forum.
Again, this just adds to Facebook’s woes. When the vulnerability was found in 2019, it was after millions more had their data leaked from Facebook’s servers. And this was after the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2016 when eighty million users had their data scraped in a political attempt to target voters.
“Individuals signing up to a reputable company like Facebook are trusting them with their data, and Facebook [is] supposed to treat the data with utmost respect,” noted Gal. “Having their personal information leaked is a huge breach of trust and should be handled accordingly.”
But there’s another worrisome point. It’s out, it’s done, and there’s no putting the genie back in the bottle. You can get upset with Facebook and leave the social network. But your data has most likely already been leaked. Leaving the social network at this point will do nothing to help you.
Read on to learn how to download your data from Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Apple.