With Facebook facing a number of criticisms lately (which include CEO Mark Zuckerberg being summoned in a court hearing), the social media giant faced another big issue, as a leaker exposed the personal data of over 500 million Facebook users.
The said leak includes information of over 533 million Facebook users from 106 countries–32 million coming from the US, 11 million coming from the UK, and 6 million coming from India. The amount of information exposed is massive, as it includes phone numbers, Facebook IDs, full names, locations, birthdates, and even email addresses.
Insider verified the leaked info and confirmed several Facebook records, proving that this is one big data leak that is very alarming to all Facebook users. As a response, a Facebook spokesperson said that the data was scraped back in 2019 due to a vulnerability that the social media giant addressed. However, it is still bothersome to see that scraped data still fell into the hands of hackers.
Even if the leaked dataset is a few years old, these are still considered valuable information, and cybercriminals can use this to impersonate or scam people into handing over their login credentials. “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,” Hudson Rock CTO Alon Gal said.
This is not the first time that Facebook suffered from a data leak: back in 2019, the social media giant had to deal with a security gaffe that literally exposed the passwords of around 200 to 600 million of its users in plain text–without any form of encryption. In 2018, around 50 million users were affected by a security breach.
Even if Facebook said that it has addressed those issues, we can’t emphasize enough how important is to enable additional security measures like two-factor authentication.