In this day and age where almost every person has a Facebook account, it’s important to stay cautious. Just yesterday (Sunday, 4th April), it was reported that there’s been a leaked database of 533 million Facebook users from over 100 countries around the world.
From that number, more than 11 million (exactly 11,675,894 Malaysians) have been affected. The data leaked not only includes the users’ Facebook ID, but also names, mobile numbers, emails, gender, occupation, city, country, marital status, and others.
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.
— Alon Gal (Under the Breach) (@UnderTheBreach) April 3, 2021
This issue was first brought up by Alon Gal. For those who don’t know, he’s the co-Founder and CTO of Israelian cybersecurity company, Hudson Rock. “This means that if you have a Facebook account, it is extremely likely the phone number used for the account was leaked,” Gal tweeted. After all, our Facebook accounts are often linked to other apps and features.
Business Insider has also verified several records with the following:
- Matching the Facebook users’ phone numbers with the IDs listed in the data set.
- Testing email addresses from the leaked data set in Facebook’s password reset feature.
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. pic.twitter.com/lM1omndDET
— Alon Gal (Under the Breach) (@UnderTheBreach) January 14, 2021
The fact that this isn’t the first time is very concerning. Previously on 14th January this year, Gal highlighted that a Telegram bot was leaking personal information from the Facebook database and the information could be bought for a fee.
Director of Strategic Response Communications for Facebook Liz Bourgeois took to Twitter to respond, saying that it was “old data that was previously reported on in 2019”, adding that the security issue had already been fixed in August 2019. It’s funny that Bourgeois would refer to it as “old data” since the information can still be exploited by scammers as well as hackers.
Taking that into consideration, it’s probably best to review your own sensitive data on Facebook. Avoid clicking on questionable links that you aren’t sure of.