A database containing the leaked phone numbers (and other personal information) of some 533 million Facebook users has just been spotted online. The database was posted to a low-level hacking forum for free — reports Business Insider.
The database also contains other personal information, including the users’ Facebook IDs, full names, birth dates, locations, biographies, and in some cases, email addresses, as discovered by cybersecurity researcher Alon Gal.
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 is not the first time Facebook has suffered a data leak, but it does look like one of the company’s bigger failings when it comes to user privacy. To put things in perspective, 533 million users account for roughly 20% of Facebook’s 2.7 billion monthly active users as of Q2 2020.
The leaked data has already been verified as authentic by Business Insider. It would appear that, despite vowing to get a grip on the social media platform after the part it played in the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, the flood gates flew upon once again right under CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s nose.
The database in question was created by exploiting a vulnerability that enabled those with the means to access the phone numbers linked to every single Facebook account in early 2020.
The siphoned data was previously being sold on hacking forums for a price, before it was posted, in its entirety, for free earlier today. The leaked information can potentially be used by cyber-criminals in attempts to impersonate unsuspecting individuals or scam them.
If you have a Facebook account, there is a roughly 1/5 chance that your phone number was leaked to parties with less-than-pure intentions — be on the lookout for potentially malicious contact from unknown sources.