267 Millions of Facebook user phone numbers exposed online, security researchers say

More than 267 million Facebook user phone numbers, names and person IDs have been uncovered in a database that anybody might entry on-line, including to an extended listing of privateness and safety mishaps that proceed to plague the world’s largest social community.

Safety researcher Bob Diachenko found the trove of Facebook person information on Dec. 14. The database, which has been pulled down, wasn’t protected by a password or some other safeguard. Entry to the database was eliminated, however, by then the knowledge had been out within the open for almost two weeks. Somebody had additionally made the info out there for obtain on a hacker discussion board, in keeping with Comparitech, a UK technology analysis agency that labored with Diachenko.

Facebook’s new privacy mishaps raise questions on whether or not the corporate is doing sufficient to guard the info of its billions of customers. It is also one other reminder that customers need to be cautious about what data they make public on the social community. This is not the primary time a safety researcher has uncovered a database crammed with Fb person information. The revelation additionally comes after UK political consultancy Cambridge Analytica harvested the info of as much as 87 million Fb customers without their consent. Fb has confronted different privateness woes corresponding to storing a whole bunch of tens of millions of passwords in the plain textual content.

Comparitech mentioned the uncovered Fb information places customers in danger for spam and phishing campaigns. A Facebook person ID accommodates distinctive numbers that can be utilized to determine an individual’s Facebook username and different profile data.

Diachenko thinks that criminals in Vietnam obtained personal information by two attainable methods. They might have exploited Facebook’s software programming interface, or API, that lets builders entry information corresponding to their associates listing, pictures and teams. This may need to have occurred earlier than Fb restricted entry to personal cell phone numbers in 2018 or afterward due to an attainable safety gap. Criminals might have additionally used automated expertise to scrape the knowledge from public Fb profiles.

In an email, Diachenko mentioned the welcome web page and dashboard linked to the database included a Vietnamese invitation asking for a login and password. It seems that the database was set to public by mistake as a result of “there are not any good causes to publicly expose this information,” he mentioned.

A Fb spokesman mentioned in an announcement that the corporate is trying into the difficulty however thinks the info was probably harvested earlier than it made modifications to higher safeguard person data corresponding to proscribing entry to cell phone numbers.

To assist shield your Fb information from getting scraped, you possibly can change your privateness settings so SERPS exterior of Fb cannot hyperlink to your profile. You can also deactivate or delete your Fb account.

Unprotected public databases have been an issue for Fb. In April, safety researchers from UpGuard discovered greater than 540 million Fb person information, together with feedback and likes, in a public database on Amazon’s cloud servers. In September, TechCrunch reported on a server that contained a number of databases crammed with greater than 419 million Fb information from customers within the US, UK, and Vietnam. Fb, although mentioned the server contained roughly 220 million information. The most recent uncovered database included comparable Fb person information but it surely is not identical, Diachenko mentioned.

In September, one other safety researcher discovered an identical database with Fb person information. It is unclear if the identical individual or group is posting Fb person data on-line.

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