Facebook leak sees 267 MILLION mainly US users’ personal details including phone numbers exposed online – The Sun

A FACEBOOK data leak saw 267 million people's phone numbers shared in an online hackers' forum it emerged today.

Millions of people had their names, numbers and Facebook IDs exposed online, leaving them vulnerable to hackers, texting scams, and phishing schemes.


DATA BREACH

A huge database wasuncovered by cyber security firm Comparitech who teamed up with security researcher, Bob Diachenko.

The extensive list of names and numbers of mainly US users was available in an unprotected format and it was copied to other hacker forums.

People's personal details were divulged earlier this month and posted in the hackers' forum for complete strangers to download for two weeks.

A Facebook company spokesperson told The Sun Online the company is "looking into this issue."

"[We] believe this is likely information obtained before changes we made in the past few years to better protect people’s information.”

CAUSE

Experts think this may be the result of an illegal scraping operation when bots copy sensitive information online, namely people's Facebook profiles.

Vietnamese criminals may have stolen the details from Facebook’s developer API before the company restricted access to phone numbers last year.

The Facebook API gives third-party developers access to user information, enabling them to create Facebook applications.

A spokesperson for Facebook assured The Sun "they are looking into this issue" on Thursday evening.

They said: "[We] believe this is likely information obtained before changes we made in the past few years to better protect people’s information."

INFORMATION EXPOSED

But the personal information remained online and downloadable for two weeks before it was removed.

This isn’t the first time Facebook users' sensitive information has been at the mercy of hackers and scam artists.

A whopping 419 million records across several databases were exposed in September, including phone numbers and Facebook IDs.

The records were stored in an unprotected server meaning almost anyone could have easily accessed the personal data.

Around 133 million US accounts were left in the open online server with no password to secure them – including some celebrities.

CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA

Facebook and Cambridge Analytica also came under fire in 2018 for exchanging the information of 87 million users.

Only only 270,000 people had given the companies permission for their data to be shared.

The information was then used by Cambridge Analytica for political advertising as they gathered data on voters via their internet-use.

It was then analysed and packaged so that political spin doctors could create stronger slogans and campaign messages.

The British firm harvested this data on prospective voters through a personality quiz on a Facebook app.

COURT CASE

A Cambridge psychology professor called Aleksandr Kogan launched the "thisisyourdigitallife" app in 2015.

Only 270,000 Facebook users actually signed up to take the personality tests.

The deceptive app also harvested data of all the Facebook friends connected to those users without permission.

The firm has been linked to Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

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The university center sued Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for defamation, saying Facebook 'scapegoated' them.

Kogan is taking Zuckerberg to court after the company alleged he lied about how the data would be used.

Zuckerberg and other Facebook top dogs claim Kogan told them the data harvesting was for academics not political purposes.

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