533 million people’s data leaked from Facebook

533 million Facebook users’ data leaked – are you one?

Thursday 22 April, 2021

Shouldn’t everyone have the right to mobile security and data security? Mobile phone and mobile apps have become the frontline threat for data hacking and fraud. 

The latest, a data breach affecting Facebook lead to the personal information of over half a billion Facebook users around the world being leaked. This data breach includes a variety of personal information such as email addresses, phone numbers, full names, locations and birth dates.  

Alan Gal, co-founder of security research company Hudson Rock reported the data breach. He confirmed that he checked the details of some users affected by the hacking and the breach is real. The data could be a few years old and may have been manually extracted from the Facebook site. Facebook said it had ‘found and fixed’ the breach from 2019 but this information has since been published on a hacking forum, so anyone can access it for free if they have basic data skills.  

What information has been leaked?

The exposed data includes personal information of 533 million Facebook users from over 100 countries. Most of these Facebook users are from the UK (11 million), USA (32 million) and India (6 million).

Was your Facebook data leaked?

You can now enter your phone number into a website to show you if your data was leaked in the recent Facebook data breach. Use the Have I Been Pwned online tool to check if your phone numbers or emails were leaked. The phone number search function has been set up by Troy Hunt, a security expert who manages the HaveIBeenPwned website because he was getting so many web visitors due to the Facebook data breach.

Facebook users should be aware of scams

Gal made it clear that users should remain aware of ‘social engineering attacks,’ as there is a chance that hackers try and use this information to access your Facebook account. Any Facebook users should be careful as this leaked information is useful to cybercriminals. They could use the data for phishing scams, impersonate you or share this personal data.  

Facebook exposed online in 2019

This is not the first occasion Facebook has been accused of leaking data. In 2019 the phone numbers of Facebook users were exposed. Facebook confirmed in August 2019 that the issue was rectified. 

What to do if you have a Facebook account?

In terms of security there is little that Facebook can do to help anyone whose data has been lost. Hopefully Facebook will notify anyone whose data could have been hacked so they can watch out for fraud or phishing schemes. We recommend any Facebook users ensure they have good and reliable antivirus software on their Blackphone and any laptops or computers you use. We also suggest that you change your Facebook login details and passwords regularly in case your data has been hacked.

Hacked Facebook users encouraged to take action

In the Irish courts a digital privacy court is getting ready to take action against Facebook on behalf of any EU citizens involved in the data breach. The DRI said that if the claim is successful individual Facebook users who join the legal action could be offered compensation of up to £10,445. Facebook deny any wrongdoing suggesting the data was ‘scraped’ from public information that was available on the site. The Director of Rignts Ireland thought that this move against Facebook may be the first of many against tech giants and could be the beginning of a domino effect. He confirmed that the data protection laws have been introduced to protect consumers and keep their personal information safe, and it’s important that companies respect the law and take the protection of personal data seriously. If the court finds the data protection laws have been breached Facebook could face fines of up to 4% of its turnover.

In response to the DRI court case a Facebook spokesman said: "We understand people's concerns, which is why we continue to strengthen our systems to make scraping from Facebook without our permission more difficult and go after the people behind it." 

Facebook already playing down the leak

Worryingly, an internal Facebook email has exposed their intent to play down the data leak and label it as an ‘industry problem’ and a ‘normal occurrence’. Top tier global publications have offered critical takes of Facebook's response framing it as “evasive, a deflection of blame and absent of an apology for the users impacted".

How can you keep your mobile data secure?

It has become startlingly apparent that social networking platforms and apps cannot be relied on to keep your personal data secure. What’s more is that these platforms don’t seem to care and internal communications leaked, for example from Facebook, verify their lack of concern for your data security. 

Are you ready to move away from insecure apps and networks and use a mobile phone that cares about your data and keeps your private communications private?

If you would like to find out more about how a Blackphone 2 of Blackphone PRIVY will keep your personal data secure and private click the links. Need more than one secure mobile phone? Call our sales team on +44 (0)871 666 9 666, we will be happy to help you with security requirements.

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