Bob Diachenko, a security researcher recently found a database of users’ account information including the name and phone numbers for 267 million Facebook users. He discovered the data in an unprotected format copied to other hacker forums.
These phone numbers and names were on an open online database. And they could potentially be used for spam and phishing campaigns.
According to Comparitech, the database was first indexed on 4th December 2019, but as of 19th December 2019, it was unavailable.
Comparitech also reports that the site is closed. But before that, the database existed on a hacker forum as a downloadable file.
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How Facebook users can stop their data from Leaking
Diachenko believes that Facebook users most affected by this leak are located in the United States. The data includes people’s Facebook IDs, phone numbers, and full names.
The analyst says the compromise likely occurred through an application program interface (API) routine that gave developers access to back-end data, such as friend lists, groups, and photos.
But to be on the safe side, Facebook users should go to set their privacy settings to “Friends”. Also, they should set the “Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile?” setting to “No.”
Diachenko also says users should be wary of suspicious, unsolicited text messages.
He adds that it was likely a protected, private database even on hacker forums. However, it was set to “public” and was readily available to anyone for about two weeks.
Facebook has come under scrutiny recently because of perceived lax in its security protocols.
The most famous incident is relating to Cambridge Analytica. It had mined user data from Facebook by using an app that looked like an academic survey.
This breach is much larger in proportion. The Cambridge Analytica survey collected data from 87 million users, however, this breach, according to Diachenko, involves 267 million accounts.
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