Information from over 500 million Facebook accounts has been found on the hackers’ website. The data appears to be several years old, but is another example of the vast amount of information collected by a company and other social networking sites, with limits on how secure that information is.
The availability of the data set was first reported by Business Insider. According to that publication, it contains information from 106 countries including phone numbers, Facebook IDs, full names, locations, birthdays and email addresses.
Facebook has been facing data security issues for years. In 2018, a major telecommunications company has disabled something that allows users to search by phone number following revelations that political company Cambridge Analytica obtained information from up to 87 million Facebook users without their knowledge or consent.
In April 2019, in one of the biggest violations of the world’s largest social media network, hundreds of millions of records about Facebook users were made public on Amazon’s cloud service. The UpGuard report said third-party Facebook app developers posted them in a public place. Facebook filed a lawsuit against the developers in March 2019.
In December 2019, a Ukrainian security researcher reported finding a database with unique names, phone numbers and unique IDs for more than 267 million Facebook users – almost all in the US – on the Internet. It is unclear whether the current data dump is related to this database.
“These are old data that was previously reported in 2019,” the Menlo Park, California company said in a statement. “We have resolved this issue by August 2019.”
A data breach is an incident where information is stolen or taken from a system without the knowledge or authorization of the system’s owner. A small company or large organization may suffer a data breach. Stolen data may involve sensitive, proprietary, or confidential information such as credit card numbers, customer data, trade secrets, or matters of national security.
The effects brought on by a data breach can come in the form of damage to the target company’s reputation due to a perceived ‘betrayal of trust.’ Victims and their customers may also suffer financial losses should related records be part of the information stolen.
Based on the number of data breach incidents recorded between January 2005 and April 2015, personally identifiable information (PII) was the most stolen record type while financial data came in second.