For the past few years, Facebook has been facing a lot of problems regarding privacy. And now they’ve got another! A data leak involving the personal details of hundreds of millions of Facebook users is being reviewed by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC).
If you were a Facebook user in 2019, it’s possible that your information is among the millions of records posted on a website used by hackers. The data includes names, phone numbers, Facebook IDs, locations, account creation dates, birthdays, relationship statuses, bios, and, in some cases, email addresses as well.
Mark Zuckerbergs’ information has been leaked as well and sources claim that he uses WhatsApp rival Signal. Ironic!
It’s a massive leak that covers 533 million people in 106 countries, according to researchers who have viewed the data. That includes 11 million Facebook users in the UK and more than 30 million Americans. Not every piece of data is available for every user, but the large scale of the leak has prompted concern from cyber-security experts.
According to Facebook, the data is old and was previously leaked in 2019.
“We found and fixed this issue in August 2019,” Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone told CNN Saturday. However, for many users, the information they had on their Facebook profile in 2019, such as phone numbers and birthdays, likely hasn’t changed in the past two years. And that means the data could still be useful to hackers or other bad actors.
“Although this was due to an old breach [and] this is old information, now it’s out there in the public domain,” said Jeff Dennis, partner and head of the privacy and data security practice at law firm Newmeyer Dillion. “Anyone who has basic search skills can now go find that database and exploit it, which was not the case when the data was originally taken.”
How can I find Out If My Data Is In The Facebook Leak?
If you’d like to find out whether your data is in the leak, without downloading the 20GB database, you can try two ways. The first involves going to Haveibeenpwned.com, a trusted site that tracks data breaches. It’s received a copy of the Facebook database.
Now You Might Be Wondering How We Can Be Safe?
One thing for sure is that no information users share on online platforms is ever guaranteed to be secure and private. According to Cyber Security Experts:
“Only give out your information when you are the one initiating the conversation. If somebody asks you for your social security, your password, your credit card number, even your name, there is no need for you to put it in anywhere unless you’re the one initiating the conversation or the transaction.”
Be vigilant. If you receive any phone call or email pretending to be a banker or whoever asking for any information regarding social security number, bank account number, security pin or any personal questions like what’s your pet name, etc. Do not share this with anyone. It’s more likely a scam. Use security features like two-factor authentication and choose strong passwords with special characters and symbols.
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