Data Breach: Facebook information on 533m users worldwide re-appears online

*Personal information, including phone numbers, names, locations, birth dates of 533 million Facebook users posted online for free Saturday, April 3

*But ‘this is old data that was previously reported on in 2019…. We found and fixed this issue in August 2019, says Facebook Spokesperson

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Though the technology giant and leading social media platform has responded that it was old data issue that was previously reported and fixed in 2019, yet the personal data of 533 million Facebook Inc. users worldwide re-appeared online for free Saturday, April 3, 2021.

ConsumerConnect learnt the latest development is a reminder of the tech company’s ability to collect mountains of information and its struggles to protect these sensitive assets of consumers.

The data breach Saturday involved the posting of personal information on 533 million Facebook users, such as phone numbers, Facebook IDs, full names, locations, birth dates, bios and in some cases e-mail addresses, reports Business Insider.

A Facebook spokesperson, however, wrote in an e-mail statement that “this is old data that was previously reported on in 2019.

“We found and fixed this issue in August 2019.”

The official stated that at the time, the company addressed a flaw in its technology that allowed the consumers’ information to leak out.

However, once such data escapes from Facebook’s network, the company has limited power to stop it from spreading online, report said.

Alon Gal, Chief Technology Officer of Cybercrime Intelligence firm Hudson Rock, discovered the data again Saturday.

Gal in a message on Twitter wrote that databases, especially if they are large or rare, aren’t often shared widely right away because “the people who hold it will attempt to monetise it for as long as they can.

“The process sometimes takes years, sometimes days, but eventually all private databases leak if they were sold around.”

It is noted that data leaks threaten to undermine Facebook’s business model of gathering a large amount of personal information and using that to sell targeted adverts.

More so, the information is available for free on a hacking forum, making it widely accessible to anyone with rudimentary data skills, the publication stated.

The source verified several records by matching known Facebook users’ phone numbers with the IDs listed, and confirmed other records by testing email addresses from the data set in Facebook’s password reset feature, which can be used to partially reveal a user’s phone number.

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