Facebook has a poor track record when it comes to online privacy and securing users' data. The company somehow finds itself in the online privacy debacle which is also why it's not the go-to social media platform for a lot of people. Now, Facebook is once again in the news as a user found personal data of over 500 million Facebook users in a hacking forum.
According to Insider, the user data found on the forum matched known Facebook user's records. It seems to include phone numbers, birth dates, biographical details, and more. The source claims that the 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.
All 533,000,000 Facebook records were just leaked for free.— Alon Gal (Under the Breach) (@UnderTheBreach) April 3, 2021
This means that if you have a Facebook account, it is extremely likely the phone number used for the account was leaked.
I have yet to see Facebook acknowledging this absolute negligence of your data. https://t.co/ysGCPZm5U3 pic.twitter.com/nM0Fu4GDY8
Insider says it also verified records by testing email addresses from the data set in Facebook's password reset feature that partially revealed the users' phone numbers.
Facebook responded back to Insider with respect to this issue and said the data was scrapped due to a vulnerability that the company patched in 2019. Even though the data is a couple of years old now, it may still provide sensitive information about the users to someone who's got their hands on it.
Alon Gal, CTO of cybercrime intelligence firm Hudson Rock, first discovered the entire trough of leaked data online. "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," he said.
Gal first discovered the leak in January when some user advertised an automated bot that could provide phone numbers of millions of Facebook users in a hacking forum. It was confirmed by multiple sources that the data set was legitimate. Now, the entire data set has been posted online for free, making it widely available.
This isn't the first time for Facebook and looking at how things are going, it doesn't look like it'll be the last one. We hope Facebook manages to get a hold of their platform and keep these security breaches at bay tp keep their users and their data safe. In the meantime, if you are worried about your data, then here's a quick guide to help you delete your Facebook account.