Just a few days ago, there were reports that there had been a leak of user information on Facebook. While it was regarded as rumours that the personal information of 533 million Facebook users was leaked, a report by Business Insider was one of such reports to confirm this.
According to the report, the data of about 533 million Facebook users across 106 different countries was leaked on a hacking platform. According to the report, apart from India, the US and the UK seem to have been affected the most. India had around 6 million user data leaked; the US and the UK had 32 million and 11 million user information leaked respectively. The information released by these unknown hackers includes the phone number of users, their locations, and date of birth, Facebook ID, bios and the email addresses of some users. With the above information, cyber criminals could successfully impersonate anyone. This cyber leak was discovered by Alon Gal, CTO of Hudson Rock which is a cybercrime intelligence firm. Alon Gal reported that the data was being advertised for sale by a Telegram bot. This data was later reported to be available for free and in the wrong hands could cause some serious havoc.
The CTO and co-founder of Hudson Rock; Alon Gal tweeted that “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”.
Facebook has come out to say that “this is old data that was previously reported in 2019. We found and fixed this issue in August 2019”. Facebook therefore assured its users that this is not a recent issue and that the issue has been fixed as far back as 2019. Alon Gal in another tweet said that “Few days ago a user created a Telegram bot allowing users to query the database for a low fee, enabling people to find the phone numbers linked to a very large portion of Facebook accounts. This obviously has a huge impact on privacy”.
In as much as Facebook claims that this is an old issue and that it has been fixed quite a long time ago, there is still a huge possibility that the information has been exploited or is still in the hands of the wrong people.