On Saturday, 3rd April, Facebook data of HALF A BILLION of its users was published online for free!
A user in a low-level hacking forum published this highly personal information of Facebook users on a low-level hacking forum completely free on the Internet providing easy access to everyone.
Alon Gal, CTO of a cybercrime intelligence firm was the first who discovered the leaked data. He voices his concerns and warns that this leak would most certainly lead to people taking advantage of the data to perform social engineering attacks or hacking attempts.
Gal first discovered the data in January when an advertising bot offered phone numbers of Facebook users for a price. When verified the data offered was indeed found to be legitimate. And now, the entire data table has been made free of cost.
We have unfortunately already seen a similar case of the Facebook- Cambridge Analytica Data scandal in 2018. The vulnerability found then, allowed people to find Facebook user’s data off the server itself. Facebook claimed that they had patched the vulnerability in August 2019. Facebook also looked to crack down on such mass data scandals.
Also Read: History of Data Breach in Nepal!
This data leakage has a massive impact. Half a billion data includes people from 106 countries. Amongst these greatest seems to be from the USA, UK, and India.
Compiling all the information and making it easily available is bound to be very helpful for hackers. Because they don’t even have to spend their time cracking servers and finding such information.
The leak of sensitive information such as mobile numbers, birthdays, names, and emails will lead to hackers impersonating these users and targeted advertising. They are likely to receive many advertising and phishing risks.
Although Facebook can not do anything to help these users, the least they can do is inform them and alert them for such risks that may ensue.
Lesson to learn
This again is an addition to the long chain of data leakage of giant brands like Facebook and Twitter. As the world is becoming digitized by the day, so are crimes and safety issues. Users should always be aware and alert for possible cybercrime.
At the local as well as international level data leakages and hacking seems to be rising. This means users like us should be more careful. We should try not to reveal our personal information to suspicious websites or any pop-up forms that ask.
Using fake names and elaborate security questions are some helpful actions to be taken. However, there many such breaches that happen no matter how much the users are careful. This is because the main application or verified website itself is weak. Verified, highly popular applications that suffered from data breaches are Foodmandu, Banking servers, and even ISPs like Vianet.
Such platforms which house so many user’s personal information like mobile numbers and addresses should be extremely cautious and strengthen their servers and security. Getting spam calls and advertisements can not be the worst things these hackers can do with the available information.
Since everything can be easily done online these days, we still do not know the negative potential behind data leakage.