Over 1.5 billion Facebook users’ personal data found for sale on hacker forum

Unrelated to different latest issues Fb has had, this specific batch of information was scraped from profiles, which means it is publicly obtainable data. That does not cease it from being harmful.

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Picture: Shutterstock/Ink Drop

It has been a nasty few days for Fb. An outage affected all of its websites (and Oculus merchandise), testimony from a whistleblower this week may put the corporate again within the authorized hotseat, and now it is come out that non-public and private knowledge from greater than 1.5 billion Fb customers was discovered on the market on a hacker discussion board.

Reported by privateness analysis firm Privateness Affairs, the info discovered on the market does not point out that the vendor really broke into Fb’s techniques, nor that its knowledge tied to some other knowledge breach. As a substitute, Privateness Affairs mentioned that the info was allegedly obtained by scraping publicly obtainable knowledge shared by Fb customers. 

SEE: Safety incident response coverage (TechRepublic Premium)

The truth that the info stolen and on the market is publicly obtainable should not ease anybody’s fears: That knowledge can nonetheless be used to compromise customers’ safety and privateness. Particularly, the stolen knowledge incorporates names, e mail addresses, places, gender, telephone numbers and Fb Consumer ID data. Every little bit of that knowledge may clue an attacker into password problem solutions, permit them to intercept one-time login codes, phish, ship rip-off textual content messages and extra. 

There have been some questions as to the legitimacy of each the vendor and the info, with one potential purchaser saying they paid the consumer however by no means obtained any knowledge. The vendor denied the accusations, however as of October 6 the publish has been taken down, with a Fb spokesperson saying the corporate despatched a takedown request. 

Whereas the potential for this specific set of information to be exploited could have lessened because of its elimination from this specific discussion board, it is unknown if it may find yourself posted elsewhere or what number of patrons could have already bought a few of it. There are a complete of practically three billion individuals on Fb, which signifies that knowledge pertaining to as much as half of them may very well be within the palms of dangerous actors. 

Privateness Affairs mentioned the info they examined from samples offered on the boards seems to be respectable. The vendor claims their group has been in operation for no less than the previous 4 years and has served greater than 18,000 purchasers in that point. Cross-checking the info towards recognized Fb leaks did not deliver up any matches, which Privateness Affairs mentioned may point out that that is all new, however respectable, knowledge. 

The info uncovered on this leak, if genuine, “could represent one of many greatest and most vital Fb knowledge dumps to this point,” Privateness Affairs founder and CEO Miklos Zoltan mentioned. 

Scraping: A dangerously easy strategy to compromise privateness

Each little bit of publicly obtainable knowledge will be “scraped” by a bot and saved in a database, spreadsheet or different type of file. That is not the one device attackers use, although: Additionally they use Fb quizzes like “Which character from X present are you?” in an effort to harvest knowledge. 

“Each time somebody enters one among these surveys or quizzes, they enable the creators of those video games to view their private Fb data similar to full title, e mail, telephone quantity, location, gender and extra,” mentioned Zoltan. 

As a result of scraping solely requires knowledge to be obtainable, Fb customers ought to guarantee they by no means set their profiles to public. It is also a good suggestion to undergo a Fb privateness checkup to make sure there isn’t any errant bits of information sneaking out from locations you thought have been safe. 

SEE: Easy methods to handle passwords: Finest practices and safety ideas (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

As well as, by no means take Fb quizzes or grant Fb apps permission to entry your private data. Solely use surveys, video games and quizzes from recognized reliable sources. 

In case your knowledge was already scraped it might be too late, however you may lock your account down now to stop future data from being stolen. 

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