Hackers discovered Facebook data from over 500 million users from over 100 countries on a website

The personal details of over 500 million Facebook users were discovered on a hacker website. Although the information appears to be many years old, it serves as another example of the large amount of data gathered by Facebook and other social media sites, as well as the limitations of how reliable that data is. Business Insider was the first to write on the data set's availability. It has information from 106 countries, including phone numbers, Facebook IDs, full names, places, birthdates, and email addresses, according to the publication.

For years, Facebook has struggled with data protection problems. Following allegations that the political firm Cambridge Analytica had accessed details on up to 87 million Facebook users without their knowledge or consent, the social media giant removed a function that enabled users to search for one another by phone number in 2018.

In December 2019, a Ukrainian security researcher discovered a database on the open internet containing the names, phone numbers, and unique user IDs of over 267 million Facebook users, almost all of whom were located in the United States. It's unclear if the latest data dump has anything to do with this archive.

The Menlo Park, California-based company said in a statement that "this is old data that was previously reported on in 2019." “In August of this year, we discovered and resolved this issue.”

“This may be a follow-up to a previous incident with Facebook in 2019.” The data was made available thanks to an API permit that allowed anyone to look up a user's phone number. There is no financial gain in giving away information for free, so the motivation for publishing the data online is unclear at this time. Check Point, on the other hand, is not seeing a new pattern. "The key impact is that information about half a billion users was leaked and is now available online, including their phone numbers, email addresses, and location details," Sundar N Balasubramanian, Managing Director, Check Point Software Technologies, India & SAARC, said.

Balasubramanian also believes that, since user information has been leaked, phishing campaigns will likely increase in the coming days. He has offered advice about how users should stop getting their accounts compromised. According to him, users must:

  • Switch on two-factor authentication for all critical applications.
  • Share and raise awareness about the leak with your own family. Since Facebook has updated user information, phishing campaigns can now include messages from people in your immediate vicinity, making it easier to deceive users.
  • Check for syntax errors in personal messages you receive on social media and in emails.
  • Do not click on links in emails or texts. If you receive emails from service providers, go to their official websites manually.

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