Personal data belonging to at least 500 million Facebook users re-emerged online over the weekend. According to Business Insider, The information is available for for free on a hacking forum. Anyone with basic data skills can easily access the information.
The data available from the 533 million Facebook users include phone numbers, Facebook user names, Full names, birthdays, location and for some, email addresses.
Facebook responded to the news, saying the data was from a 2019 leak.
“This is old data that was previously reported on in 2019,” a Facebook spokesperson wrote in an email statement. “We found and fixed this issue in August 2019.”
The flaw in question caused the data to leak online, making it impossible to contain it after that. However, as Facebook says, the flaw was addressed, and no new leakages have since been reported.
Alon Gal, chief technology officer of cybercrime intelligence firm Hudson Rock said that databases will attempt to cash in on large and rare data for as long as they can.
“The process sometimes takes years, sometimes days, but eventually all private databases leak if they were sold around.” Gal said on Twitter.
Data leaks are a huge threat to Facebook’s business model which relies on the collection of personal data for targeted ads. The leak exposed Facebook’s ability to gather huge volumes of personal data and its attempts at protecting it.
According to Business Insider, Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg also had his data compromised. Information pertaining to his name,phone number, location,marriage, birth date and Facebook user name were exposed in the leak.