Facebook data leak: Personal details of 533mn users found online for free

By Amirtha P S, Trainee Reporter
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Private details of more than 500 million Facebook users, including phone numbers, email addresses and other data, are available for free on a website for hackers, according to a cybercrime expert.

The database appears to be the same set of Facebook-linked telephone numbers that have been circulating in hacker circles since January and whose existence was first reported by tech publication Motherboard, according to Alon Gal, co-founder of Israeli cybercrime intelligence firm Hudson Rock.

The information appears to be several years old, but it is another example of the huge amount of data collected by social media sites and raises a serious question regarding its security.

Meanwhile, a Facebook spokesperson stated, “This is old data that was previously reported in 2019. We found and fixed this issue in August 2019.”

The availability of the data set was first reported by a US-based business website and according to their report, the information from 106 countries including phone numbers, Facebook IDs, full names, locations, birthdates, and email addresses are available on an online hackers’ forum.

“All 533,000,000 Facebook records were just leaked for free. This means that if you have a Facebook account, it is extremely likely the phone number used for the account was leaked,” Mr.Gal added.

This is not the first time the social media giant, with nearly two billion users, is being accused of data security issues. In 2018, Facebook disabled a feature that let users search for one another using phone numbers following the disclosure that the political firm Cambridge Analytica had accessed information on up to 87 million users without their knowledge or consent.

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